Review: News of the World


Civil War vet Captain Kidd (Tom Hanks) travels from town to town bringing anyone who pays 10 cents news of the world. He reads various newspapers and tells stories, and is perfectly content with this way of life. Then he meets Johanna (Helena Zengel) a German girl raised by the Kiowa tribe. She speaks no English, and her tribe was slaughtered. She's hostile to the world around her, but has papers showing her last living relatives are alive in Texas. When no one else will take her, Kidd takes it upon himself to escort her.

When the trailer for this first dropped, I could not have been less interested. Westerns just aren't my thing. Then I saw Helena Zengel's wonderful performance in System Crasher and see alone is the reason I decided to press play on this one. And turns out....it was a lot better than I expected.

Having rock bottom expectations helps, but compared to the last few Westerns I've watched this film was an absolute breeze. Not having any sexual violence against women to further a man's plot helped. (looking at you The Kid) Kidd has a troubled past, like Johanna does. While details are scarce, it reads on their faces and interactions with others. Despite not speaking the same language, they understand each other.  Thankfully, the actors have wonderful chemistry considering the majority of the film is just those two on screen.

It is rather predictable, but in a way I appreciated that it didn't try to turn this on its head and just offered a straightforward movie with a happy ending. Sometimes that's needed.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B-

Memorable Quote: "To go forward, we must remember." - Johanna (Helena Zengel)

6 comments:

  1. I love westerns and I know I will enjoy this one.

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  2. I keep hearing good things about this film as I hope to watch it real soon as I am a sucker for westerns.

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  3. I'm not into Westerns either, but I quite like this one. Hanks is always a watchable actor but Helena Zengel is amazing here, I was hoping she'd get nominated for an Oscar. I agree the ending was a bit predictable, but it tugged my heartstrings so it worked for me.

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    1. I was too. She was better than Glenn Close, IMO. I love it when kids get nominated.

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