Movie: Whiskey Tango Foxtrot
Reel Rating: 5 out of 5 Reels
MPAA Rating: R for pervasive language, some sexual content, drug use and violent war images
Released in Theaters: March 4, 2016
Best for Ages: 17+
Genre: Drama, Comedy, War
Runtime: 111 minutes
Directed by: Glenn Ficarra, John Requa
Cast: Tina Fey, Margot Robbie, Billy Bob Thornton, Martin Freeman
MOVIE SYNOPSIS: Based on journalist Kim Barker’s memoir, “The Taliban Shuffle: Strange Days in Afghanistan and Pakistan,” this dramedy chronicles her journey from cubicle worker to war reporter.
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot – Movie Review
If you think Tina Fey is only about being funny, “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot” will make you see her in a different light. She’s naturally funny, of course, but she can also play drama. I think this movie is a game-changer for her in terms of her comedic brand.
In “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot,” Fey stars as Kim Baker, a bored TV news writer who jumps at the chance to become a war reporter in Afghanistan in the mid-2000s. Yes, her name in the movie is Kim BAKER, even though the real-life person is named Kim BARKER. I understand why Fey changed the name, because much of the film is fictional. Still, it bugs me.
The story follows Kim’s journey from a safe newsroom cubicle to dangerous war-torn Afghanistan and Pakistan. Baker is a fish out of water at first, but soon finds her place with other war reporters, including gorgeous Tanya Vanderpoel (Margo Robbie) and self-centered Iain MacKelpie (Martin Freeman).
Baker navigates her way in this new world, from military “embeds” (where she goes into the field with the soldiers) to butting heads with hard-core General Hollanek (Billy Bob Thornton). Along the way, she encounters violence, poverty and terror. She and the other reporters de-stress by drinking, doing drugs and engaging in casual sex.
As a writer, movies about other writers are always fascinating to me. I love that “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot” shows us all sides of life as a war reporter. It’s not just about breaking scoops and feeling the adrenaline rush. It’s also about the chaotic life of soldiers and reporters during very dangerous situations. Being a woman in a male-dominated world adds an extra challenge for Baker. Not just the U.S. military, but also being in a country where women are seen as second-class citizens and clothed from head to toe.
But it’s not all drama. I would think that having a sense of humor in a war zone would be a necessity, and “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot” excels at showing both the dark and lighter sides. And Tina Fey is terrific.
PARENT OVERVIEW: The R-rating for “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot” is spot-on. The movie takes an unflinching look at life in a war zone, where bombings, gunfire, political instability and violence is a way of life. War reporters cope with life by drinking, doing drugs and engaging in casual sex. Language includes lots of f-bombs and more.
PARENT DETAILS (May Contain Spoilers):
Violence/Gore: War violence includes exploding land mines, mortar shells, dismembered people, gunfire, and tense demonstrations in the street. Baker recklessly puts herself in dangerous situations, like following a soldier during gunfire and filming it at the same time. A main character is kidnapped by terrorists and held in a dank building.
Sex/Nudity: Lots of kissing, groping, and implied sex. Brief glimpses of porn on a computer screen. Nudity includes bare shoulders under a sheet. References to war reporters needing to de-stress with sex.
Profanity: Frequent language includes “f–k,” “c–t,” “ass,” “bulls–t,” “p—y,” and more.
Drugs/Alcohol: Characters smoke with hookahs, drink alcohol, and do other drugs to cope with the stress. A few scenes of partiers doing cocaine and drinking.
JANE’S REEL RATING SYSTEM:
One Reel – Even the Force can’t save it.
Two Reels – Coulda been a contender
Three Reels – Something to talk about.
Four Reels – You want the truth? Great flick!
Five Reels – Wow! The stuff dreams are made of.
Images in this review used courtesy of the studio and distributor.