Charlie Wilson’s War (2009)
Amy Adams as: Bonnie Bach
Directed by: Mike Nichols
Written by: Mike Nichols, Aaron Sorkin, George Crile
Selected Cast: Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, Philip Seymour Hoffman
Release Date: December 21, 2007 (US)
Genre: Biography / Drama
MPAA Rating: R
A stiff drink. A little mascara. A lot of nerve. Who said they couldn’t bring down the Soviet empire.
Based on the true story of how Charlie Wilson, an alcoholic womanizer and Texas congressman, persuaded the CIA to train and arm resistance fighters in Afghanistan to fend off the Soviet Union. With the help of rogue CIA agent, Gust Avrakotos, the two men supplied money, training and a team of military experts that turned the ill-equipped Afghan freedom-fighters into a force that brought the Red Army to a stalemate and set the stage for conflicts in the Middle East that still rage to this day.
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Amy is a larger sized role as Bonnie Bachs, the administrative assitant to Tom Hank’s Charlie Wilson. Amy describes Bonnie as Charlie’s “His Gal Friday”. She appears in multiple scenes and has several lines of dialogue. Although Charlie has several assistants at this beckon call (reffered to as ‘Charlie’s Angels’), Bonnie obviously stands out as his right hand man (or in this case lady). While Bonnie doesn’t agree with his ways sometimes, she’s always by his side and adores him.
• “He’s [Charlie] a great guy, and a man’s man. My character sometimes gets frustrated with his ways, but can’t help adoring him and loving working for him.”
• “I play a congressional administrative assistant to Tom Hanks’ character, so she’s sort of His Gal Friday.”
• “It was so much fun. Just to be on that set and learn from these people and get to watch Philip Seymour Hoffman and Tom Hanks do these amazing scenes together, directed by Mike Nichols, it was for me like going to school.”
• “I think Charlie Wilson’s is a little different than those other war movies because it’s more a story about characters and about what they did to affect the world than it is about Afghanistan. While it and Enchanted are obviously very different, they’re both about people who have an ultimate belief that things are going to turn out great. Charlie Wilson believed in what he was doing, just as Gust Avrakotos [played by Philip Seymour Hoffman] did, so there is that common denominator. And I think that is something we need in the world today–it’s something we’re lacking. We live in a world where cynicism is confused with intelligence, so people are looking for a way to escape, and Enchanted is total escapism.”
• Bonnie: “Why can’t you wait for newspapers like everybody else.”
Charlie: “Cause’ I think it’s productive and I want today’s news today. Which makes me one day smarter than you which I enjoy as well.”
Bonnie: “I know you do.”
• “You never should have been in the same room congressman.”
• Charlie: “Why don’t you give us a few moments.”
Bonnie: “Yes sir.”
Joanne: “Oh bobby, if you could ask someone for a bombae martini, up, very dry…”
Bonnie: “Oh, I’m not a slave girl actually, I’m the congressman’s administrative assistant.”
Joanne: “Well isn’t that wonderful for you.”
• Charlie: “Who is running the thing? Who is the prosecutor?”
Charlie’s Angels – Suzanne: “Uh… Rudolph Giuliani, New York, Southern District.”
Bonnie Bach: “Do you know him?”
Charlie Wilson: “No.”
• This is Amy’s first film with Philip Seymour Hoffman, the two will later appear in Doubt (2009) together.
• Amy appeared in Catch Me If You Can (2002) which also starred Tom Hanks.
• Emily Blunt, who co-stars with Amy in Sunshine Cleaning (2008) has a small role, she filmed her part in two days.
• A vintage Miss Texas photo of Mary Nell Hubbard (1958) was used for a scene in the movie because Julia Roberts plays a former beauty queen. Hubbard wouldn’t take payment for the photo she provided. She privately joked, “I’ve gone from a headline to an archive to an artifact,” and her daughter gently teased her that she is a body double for Julia Roberts.
• Though recuperating from heart transplant surgery, the real Charlie Wilson made it to the red carpet premiere of the film.
• The theatrical poster for the film features a photoshopped version of a still where Amy actually is standing in the background behind Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts looking at each other (not Phillip Seymore Hoffman).
“Nichols fills the edges of the screen with unforced humor. There are “Charlie’s Angels,” Wilson’s office staff of buxom young women, all of them smart. There’s Charlie’s special assistant Bonnie, played by the lovable, fresh-faced Amy Adams, who cleans up after him, gives him good advice, keeps his schedule, and adores him. And there is the presence of Hoffman himself, a smoldering volcano of frustration and unspent knowledge. It’s hard to see how Charlie could have ended the Cold War without him, and impossible to see how Gust and Bonnie could have ended it without him. The next time you hear about Reagan ending it, ask yourself if he ever heard of Charlie Wilson.” – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun Times
“But it’s a film that adores character, something everyone here has in spades in one way or another. The book’s Joanne Herring comes off as hugely charming and sexually manipulative, whereas Roberts effectively plays her as almost single-mindedly cunning and Machiavellian. Amy Adams, a star since last weekend in the wake of Enchanted, is perkily energetic as Charlie’s adoring assistant; Ned Beatty has the old pro politician act down pat as a key recruit to Charlie’s cause; and Ken Stott gets off some wonderful lines and reactions as a crucial Israeli arms connection.
Charlie Wilson’s War is that rare Hollywood commodity these days: a smart, sophisticated entertainment for grownups.” – Todd McCarthy, Reel.net
“This is certainly the most dynamic of the war films that have been choking and dying at the multiplex. But the satiric energy undercuts a deeper provocation, namely that Charlie’s efforts inadvertently helped to equip what would become Al Qaeda. “We fucked up the endgame” is the way Charlie put it. You might say the same for the movie.” – Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
“Still, though not great, Charlie Wilson’s War is definitely worthwhile and entertaining, and clocking in at a modest 98 minutes, it doesn’t overstay its welcome.” – Mike LaSalle, San Fransico Chronicle