'Argo' Movie Reviews: Critics Say It's Oscar Worthy

Ben Affleck stars in the movie based on a true story.


This story jettisons us back to 1979, when hair was long, lapels were wide and Iranian revolutionaries took as hostages 52 Americans from the U.S. Embassy in Teheran. Those who were older than 10 at the time remember the broadcasts of the hostages, who were held for 444 days.

But who remembers that six people from the U.S. Embassy fled to the Canadian Embassy? Or that they escaped from Iran safely?

What happened to those people forms the story portrayed in Ben Affleck’s latest movie, “Argo.” The six people were rescued by a CIA agent (played by Affleck), who decided he could best get them out by pretending they were part of a Canadian film crew making a cheesy science fiction flick in Iran called “Argo.”

Have you seen the film? Leave your review in the comments below.

The story is true, and the movie sticks to it. Mostly. There’s a little more suspense here than in “The Master of Disguise," the book by Antonio J. Mendez on which the movie is largely based. Besides Affleck, “Argo” stars John Goodman as a makeup artist, Alan Arkin as the producer of “Argo,” Bryan Cranston as Affleck’s CIA boss, and Victor Garber as the Canadian ambassador.

This movie is being hailed as one of the year's best. Here's what the critics are saying:

The propulsive hostage thriller "Argo," the third feature directed by Ben Affleck, just plain works. It's heartening to encounter a film, based on fact but happy to include all sorts of exciting fictions to amp up the suspense, whose entertainment intentions are clear. The execution is clean, sharp and rock-solid. It's as apolitical as a political crisis story set in Iran can get. But "the first rule in any deception operation is to understand who your audience is." Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune

As a movie, Argo is a triumph.  It is a riveting bit of recently declassified history that shines a light on a bright spot during a time of darkness.  That the film merely exists as a document of its events can only be held against it so much, perhaps the separation between a great movie and a great film.  But after a momentary backslide with the melodramatically stupid The Town (review), Affleck is back on firm ground as a top-notch director of intelligent adult entertainments. Scott Mendelson, Huffington Post

A movie about the 1979 Iranian hostage crisis probably doesn't sound like it would be a laugh riot — or should be — but that's just one of the many ways in which "Argo" is a glorious, gripping surprise. Directing his third feature, Ben Affleck has come up with a seamless blend of detailed international drama and breathtaking suspense, with just the right amount of dry humor to provide context and levity. He shows a deft handling of tone, especially in making difficult transitions between scenes in Tehran, Washington and Hollywood, but also gives one of his strongest performances yet in front of the camera as the film's star. Christy Lemire, Associated Press

"Argo" is rated R, for violence and bad language, and runs 120 minutes. It's showing at Beechwood Stadium 11 and at Carmike 12.

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dd October 14, 2012 at 05:15 AM
Excellent movie.Really enjoyed the movie. The movie started out as a commentary on the shah of Iran which I did not agree with. As a minority living in Iran at the time of the revolution I can attest that the shah was a much better dictator than what the replacement was. The Shah kept the fundamental islamists at bay which is something Carter never understood. something that Carter never understood. Why Carter was preaching to the Shah about human rights setting the stage for the muslim fundamental wackos to take over Iran and the the middle east. Where was Jimmy Carter preaching about human rights when the green revolution was trying to take place at the beginning of the Obama presidency? So President Carter should have talked about everything he should have taken credit for at the end of the movie "Argo."
Morgan October 14, 2012 at 05:44 PM
Went to see this expecting a very good, if familiar political thriller. Unexpected was the (appropriate) humor, the wonderful performances, especially Alan Arkin and, the direction. Afflect should be nominated for an Oscar for Best Director!! Highly recommend.
Gilroy13 October 15, 2012 at 06:25 PM
I understand that this is touted as "based" on a true story... not a true story. But what is wrong with any American writer or director who would not portray the integral part our good friend, Canada, played in freeing our hostages? No WONDER they call us Ugly Americans! Is this the thanks Canada receives? We ignore their bravery? Shame, shame, shame on us. What is wrong with you Hollywood people!? The Canadian people extended their hearts and took wonderful care of our people on held-over flights for days following 911, and they risked their own lives to bravely sneak our hostages out of Iran. It's shameless to basically ignore the part Canada played in this whole drama. I am truly embarrassed for us.
Helen Cochran October 27, 2012 at 08:43 AM
Helen I saw Argo last week. Loved it!!! Affleck was awesome. The story was presented with raw emotion from the cast. This was the best movie I've seen this year. When it is released on video I will add it to my collection. I don't have a big collection but this one is worth bringing home.
Judith Hansen October 29, 2012 at 07:47 AM
Are you certain that you actually saw this movie? Everything you said about Canada is negated by what the movie portrayed. They were certainly recognized. Did you stay for the "out takes"? Those clearly stated that information about the whole affair was unknown until President Clinton declassified the material during his Presidency. Not only was Canada's part recognized but photos of the actual people involved were shown alongside of the actor who played their part in the movie. ???


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