The hard-focus clarity of the images (Bobby Bukowski did the cinematography) leads to an intimacy with anguish that passes into expressionism.
David Denby, New Yorker, 2014-11-17
This is Jon Stewart's directorial debut; the talk show comedian has a handle on the material and conveys it clearly.
James Berardinelli, ReelViews, 2014-11-16
Rosewater ... has an urgency that's all about the storytelling smarts of its first-time writer-director.
Bob Mondello, NPR, 2014-11-14
Stewart does a credible job of maintaining the story's immediacy, but I must say I felt relieved that the film wasn't a masterpiece. If it was, we'd have more reason to fear Stewart will leave The Daily Show.
Peter Rainer, Christian Science Monitor, 2014-11-14
Stewart's enthusiasm for his story and passion about injustice ring clear, but throughout what could have been a dreadfully somber film, he remembers to breathe.
Tom Long, Detroit News, 2014-11-14
A strong, striking political drama.
Steven Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer, 2014-11-14
Stewart acquits himself solidly, though not thrillingly, as a beginning director ...
Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times, 2014-11-13
Stewart's wryly observant qualities as a TV star serve him well in his feature film debut.
Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune, 2014-11-13
What makes "Rosewater" different from similar entries in what might be called the Triumph of the Imprisoned Spirit genre is that the hero is hardly an ideologue, despite having sympathy for the Iranian reformers and the Green party.
Ty Burr, Boston Globe, 2014-11-13
Mr. Stewart's interest in the material is obviously personal, but his movie transcends mere self-interest.
Manohla Dargis, New York Times, 2014-11-13
A finely wrought, powerful drama that tells the true story of an Iranian-born journalist's imprisonment and torture by the Islamic regime in Iran.
Soren Anderson, Seattle Times, 2014-11-13
Stewart lets the truth roll out, the best he can, believing in the sanitizing effect of sunlight and the inevitable fate that awaits all despots.
Peter Howell, Toronto Star, 2014-11-13
With Rosewater, Stewart proves he can pull back from the satirical comedy and become a thoughtful, incisive and questioning filmmaker.
Mary Houlihan, Chicago Sun-Times, 2014-11-13
"Rosewater" doesn't hector, nor does it giggle about the issue of press freedom. It's an impressive and important piece of storytelling.
Michael O'Sullivan, Washington Post, 2014-11-13
The main question Rosewater grapples with is whether Stewart can hack it as a filmmaker. The answer: sort of?
Esther Breger, The New Republic, 2014-11-21
Rosewater certainly has merit as an act of atonement on Stewart's part and a tribute to people like Bahari... In the end, however, the movie needs to stand on its own, apart from its noble intentions and the popularity of its writer-director.
J. R. Jones, Chicago Reader, 2014-11-21
It's a movie made for people who prefer to take their politics while sitting on the couch.
Geoff Pevere, Globe and Mail, 2014-11-14
While the film keeps telling us that Bahari survived his ordeal by freeing his mind from imprisonment and eventually outsmarting his rosewater-scented interrogator, we are told that he's doing so more than we're seeing it.
Alonso Duralde, TheWrap, 2014-11-13
The result neither portrays the suffering of Bahari's incarceration adequately nor lampoons the absurdities of the situation.
Tomas Hachard, NPR, 2014-11-13
For a first effort, Stewart hasn't done a bad job. There's just the nagging feeling with "Rosewater" that a better movie was possible.
Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle, 2014-11-13