Fair Game


Fair Game

Critics Consensus

It struggles with the balance between fact-based biopic and taut political thriller, but Fair Game brims with righteous anger -- and benefits from superb performances by Naomi Watts and Sean Penn.



Total Count: 173


Audience Score

User Ratings: 28,639
User image

Watch it now

Fair Game Photos

Movie Info

As a covert officer in the CIA's Counter-Proliferation Division, Valerie leads an investigation into the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Valerie's husband, diplomat JOE WILSON (Sean Penn), is drawn into the investigation to substantiate an alleged sale of enriched uranium from Niger. But when the administration ignores his findings and uses the issue to support the call to war, Joe writes a New York Times editorial outlining his conclusions and ignites a firestorm of controversy.


Naomi Watts
as Valerie Plame
Sean Penn
as Joe Wilson
Bruce McGill
as Jim Pavitt
Ashley Gerasimovich
as Samantha Wilson
Quinn Broggy
as Trevor Wilson
David Andrews
as Scooter Libby
Mohamed Abdel Fattah
as Professor Badawi
Geoffrey Cantor
as Ari Fleischer
Adam LeFevre
as Karl Rove
Brian McCormack
as Steven Hadley
James Rutledge
as Andrew Card
Tricia Munford
as Cathie Martin
Michael Goodwin
as David Addington
as Mr. Tabir
Polly Holliday
as Diane Plame
Sam Shepard
as Sam Plame
Chet Grissom
as Director of CIA Operations
Liraz Charchi
as Dr. Zahraa
Sonya Davison
as Chanel Suit
Vanessa Chong
as Tabir Secretary #1
Stephanie Chai
as Tabir Secretary #2
Nicholas Sadler
as CIA Tour Leader
Iris Bahr
as CPD Agent
as Minister of Mines - Niger
Louis Ozawa Changchien
as Nervous Analyst #1
Remy Auberjonois
as Nervous Analyst #2
Sean Mahon
as CIA Analyst #1
David Denman
as Nervous Dave
Kevin Makely
as Jordan Officer #1
Mousa Al Satari
as Mukhabarat Officer
Maysa Abdel Sattar
as Hammad's Wife
Rafat Basel
as Hammad's Son
Judith Resnick
as B.U. Professor
Ben Mac Brown
as B.U. Student #1
Satya Babha
as B.U. Student #2
Satya Bhabha
as B.U. Student #2
Nabil Koni
as Iraqi Scientist #1
Mohammad Al Sawalga
as Iraqi Scientist #2
Mohammad Al Sawalqa
as Iraqi Scientist #2
David Iklu
as Journalist #1
Deidre Goodwin
as Journalist #2
Donna Placido
as Journalist #3
James Joseph O'Neil
as Internal Security Officer
Danni Lang
as Supporter #1
Jane Lee
as Supporter #2
James Moy
as Field Reporter #1
Judy Maier
as Field Reporter #2
Kola Ogundrian
as Businessman #1
Byron Utley
as Businessman #2
Anastasia Barzee
as Right Wing Reporter
Sanousi Sesay
as DC Cab Driver
View All

News & Interviews for Fair Game

Critic Reviews for Fair Game

All Critics (173) | Top Critics (42) | Fresh (136) | Rotten (37)

  • This isn't a message movie, per se, but a strong point of view comes through regardless: In the battle of principles vs. politics, politics always win.

    Apr 4, 2011 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • Although the outline of this story is well known, Fair Game gives it dramatic shape and teases out the moral problems raised.

    Mar 14, 2011 | Full Review…

    Philip French

    Top Critic
  • It's a thriller that shows the twists and turns of fate with some skill but also rages effectively against the way the most powerful usually win.

    Mar 11, 2011 | Rating: 4/5
  • Watts and Penn are first rate as a married couple divided by their desperation to do right, while stylistically it's top notch.

    Mar 10, 2011 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • It is complacent and fatuous in a way that only a preeningly well-intentioned Hollywood drama can be.

    Mar 10, 2011 | Rating: 1/5 | Full Review…
  • An absorbing, unhysterical thriller that largely rejects the clichés of the genre.

    Mar 9, 2011 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

    David Jenkins

    Time Out
    Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Fair Game

  • Sep 16, 2013
    During the run-up to the Second Iraq War, the Bush Administration released the name of a CIA agent whose husband was critical of Bush's "evidence." Naomi Watts and Sean Penn deliver very strong performances as Valerie Plame Wilson and Joe Wilson. Watts is believable in her vulnerable scenes, reeling from the Bush Administration's treason, and Penn brings his natural intensity to his portrayal of Joe Wilson. Both in terms of the film and the actual events, I wondered why (or why not) the Wilsons never discussed the article that led to Valerie's betrayal. Regardless of the film's reliance on actual events, the story proceeds predictably, complete with the inspirational visit to Valerie's father who dispenses age-old wisdom. The story of the Iraqi scientists is also incomplete. Overall, carried by strong leading performances, <i>Fair Game</i> is not as polemic as it could be and follows a rather predictable path.
    Jim H Super Reviewer
  • Dec 23, 2012
    "Fair Game" is not as engrossing as it should be considering its subject matter and pedigree.
    Tony G Super Reviewer
  • Mar 20, 2012
    I am NOT a political movie fan. However, this movie was extremely interesting. This would have been a fantastic movie even if it was fiction. But, what made this story frightening is that it was true. I remember the 2003 pre-Iraq invasion media blitz to bolster public support for the war. The real-life characters in this film, heroes, dared to speak the truth about the Iraq situation in an environment of blind frenzy disguised as patriotism. The tragic story of Joe and Valerie Wilson is amazing. The movie does a fantastic job of telling their story, and showing the emotional distress, that this moment of national shame caused the Wilsons. I only wish that I could have rewritten the ending...as that Karl Rove and Scooter Libby were sent to jail for life for treason!
    Cynthia S Super Reviewer
  • Mar 02, 2012
    Important retelling of the true events leading up to and following the White House spitefully revealing the identity of active CIA operative Valerie Plame after her husband Joe Wilson, a former ambassador to Africa, wrote an article in the <i>New York Times</i> criticizing the government's baseless claims of an Iraqi nuclear program as grounds for declaring war. Seamlessly incorporates real media footage to illustrate how Bush's goons built their case for war as propaganda, substituting fear for fact, and the despicable lengths they went to destroy the reputations of two upstanding public servants - and how they fought back. It was a real treat to see Naomi Watts and Sean Penn reunited after their stellar work in 2003's <i>21 Grams,</i> with my favorite scenes in the film showing them in heated debate about how to respond to her sudden career crisis. Also, while they do not share screentime together, I was amused by a virtual reunion of <i>Dawn of the Dead</i> actors who played CJ and Steve the asshole. Best "cameo" of all though comes from Valerie Plame herself at the very end in newsreel footage giving a couple minutes of her opening statement of testimony to a senate oversight committee. A tight screenplay does a good job of detailing the costs and the fallout of this abuse-of-power game, and will get you mad at the Bush administration all over again. While this film is based on the two books written separately by Plame and Wilson, no trace of any evidence of Iraqi WMD's have been found to date ten years onward so I think it's easy to determine which side of this story contains the truth.
    Doctor S Super Reviewer

Fair Game Quotes

News & Features