A Private War

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A Private War
Theatrical release poster
Directed byMatthew Heineman
Written byArash Amel
Based on"Marie Colvin's Private War"
by Marie Brenner
Produced by
CinematographyRobert Richardson
Edited byNick Fenton
Music byH. Scott Salinas
Distributed byAviron Pictures
Release date
  • September 7, 2018 (2018-09-07) (TIFF)
  • November 2, 2018 (2018-11-02) (United States)
Running time
110 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$3.8 million[1]

A Private War is a 2018 American biographical war drama film directed by Matthew Heineman, and starring Rosamund Pike as journalist Marie Colvin.[2] The film is based on the 2012 article "Marie Colvin’s Private War" in Vanity Fair by Marie Brenner.[3][4][5] The film was written by Arash Amel and features Jamie Dornan, Tom Hollander and Stanley Tucci.[6]

The film premiered at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival and was released in the United States on November 2, 2018. It received positive reviews from critics, who praised Pike's performance.[7] At the 76th Golden Globe Awards, the film earned nominations for Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama (Pike) and Best Original Song ("Requiem for A Private War"), while director Matthew Heineman received a nomination for Outstanding Directorial Achievement of a First Time Feature Film Director from the Directors Guild of America.


Marie Colvin is an American journalist for The Sunday Times, visiting the most dangerous countries and documenting their civil wars.

In 2001, while trekking with the Tamil Tigers, Colvin and her crew are ambushed by the Sri Lankan Army. Despite her attempt to surrender, an RPG fires in her direction, wounding her to the point that she loses her left eye. Afterward, Colvin decides to wear an eyepatch.

Diagnosed with PTSD, Colvin is still determined to look for new stories, and argues with her boss, Sean Ryan, about conflicts she wants to cover, including Iraq, where she meets war photographer Paul Conroy, and Libya. She lives in London when not traveling the world, and begins a relationship with Tony Shaw (Stanley Tucci).

In February 2012, Conroy and Colvin decide to cover the conflict in the city of Homs, where they find 28,000 Syrian men, women, and children caught in the crossfire. After Conroy and Colvin send their story to Ryan, Colvin decides to broadcast to CNN to bring awareness to civilian casualties. As Marie, Paul, and another reporter, Rémi Ochlik, flee the building they had used as a media centre, the street is peppered with explosions. Paul, injured and shellshocked, wakes to find Colvin and Ochlik killed from the explosions and subsequent pile up of rubble.

The movie ends with imagery of the devastated city of Homs, followed by an interview of the real Marie Colvin, with the quote: "You're never going to get to where you're going if you acknowledge fear."[8]



The film was produced in Jordan and London,[9][10] and was shot by Robert Richardson.[11] It features an original song by Annie Lennox, entitled "Requiem for A Private War".[12]


In February 2018, Aviron Pictures acquired distribution rights to the film.[13] The film had its world premiere at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival on September 7, 2018,[14] and had its European premiere at the Mayor's Gala in the BFI London Film Festival.[15] It also screened at the Mill Valley Film Festival, Hamptons International Film Festival, and the Woodstock Film Festival.[16][17][18] The film was released on November 2, 2018, in limited release, before expanding nationwide on November 16, 2018.[19] A Private War was released in the UK and Ireland on 15 February 2019.[20]


Critical response[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes, it has an approval rating of 88%, based on 144 reviews, and the average score is 7.1/10. The website's critical consensus reads: "A Private War honors its real-life subject with a sober appraisal of the sacrifices required of journalists on the front lines—and career-best work by Rosamund Pike."[21] On review aggregator Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 75 out of 100 based on 32 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[22]

Peter Debruge of Variety called it "an incredibly sophisticated, psychologically immersive" film.[23]


Year Award Category Nominee(s) Result Ref.
2018 Golden Globe Awards Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama Rosamund Pike Nominated [24]
Best Original Song "Requiem for A Private War" by Annie Lennox Nominated
Satellite Awards Best Independent Film A Private War Nominated [25]
Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Drama Rosamund Pike Nominated
Best Original Song "Requiem for A Private War" by Annie Lennox Nominated
Directors Guild of America Awards Outstanding Directing – First-Time Feature Film A Private War Nominated [26]


  1. ^ "A Private War (2018)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved June 20, 2019.
  2. ^ Carey, Matthew (December 22, 2017). "Director Matthew Heineman On His Oscar-Shortlisted Doc 'City Of Ghosts': "The Hardest Film I've Made By Far"". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved April 30, 2018.
  3. ^ Galuppo, Mia (November 21, 2017). "Tom Hollander Joins Rosamund Pike in 'A Private War'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved April 30, 2018.
  4. ^ N'Duka, Amanda (November 21, 2017). "Tom Hollander Enlists In 'A Private War'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved April 30, 2018.
  5. ^ Mudano, Mike (January 18, 2018). "Stanley Tucci Joins Rosamund Pike in Forthcoming Biopic A Private War". Paste. Retrieved April 30, 2018.
  6. ^ Lang, Brent (February 2, 2018). "Aviron Buys 'Serenity' With Matthew McConaughey, 'A Private War' With Rosamund Pike (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved April 30, 2018.
  7. ^ Fujitani, Ryan (November 21, 2018). "Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald Could Use a Bit More Magic". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved November 15, 2018.
  8. ^ "'A Private War' Celebrates The Courage Of Journalist Marie Colvin". NPR.org. Retrieved May 13, 2019.
  9. ^ Clarke, Stewart (January 18, 2018). "Stanley Tucci Joins Rosamund Pike, Jamie Dornan in 'A Private War' (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved April 30, 2018.
  10. ^ Sommers, Kat (January 2018). "Stanley Tucci Joins Rosamund Pike, Tom Hollander and Jamie Dornan for 'A Private War'". BBC America. Retrieved April 30, 2018.
  11. ^ Tartaglione, Nancy (November 14, 2017). "Oscar-Winning DP Robert Richardson To Lens 'A Private War' With Rosamund Pike". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved April 30, 2018.
  12. ^ Ramos, Dino-Ray (September 12, 2018). "Annie Lennox Writes And Performs Original Song For 'A Private War' – Toronto". Deadline. Retrieved November 15, 2018.
  13. ^ Lang, Brent (February 2, 2018). "Aviron Buys Serenity With Matthew McConaughey, A Private War With Rosamund Pike". Variety. Retrieved August 22, 2018.
  14. ^ "A Private War". www.tiff.net. Retrieved November 15, 2018.
  15. ^ "62nd BFI London Film Festival programme announced". British Film Institute. Retrieved November 15, 2018.
  16. ^ McNary, Dave (August 22, 2018). "Rosamund Pike's 'A Private War' to Open Mill Valley Film Festival". Variety. Retrieved August 22, 2018.
  17. ^ "Hamptons International Film Festival : A PRIVATE WAR". filmguide.hamptonsfilmfest.org. Retrieved November 15, 2018.
  18. ^ "Matthew Heineman's A PRIVATE WAR to Close 2018 Woodstock Film Festival". Vimooz.com. August 24, 2018.
  19. ^ McNary, Dave (May 8, 2018). "Rosamund Pike's 'A Private War' Gets Awards-Season November Release". Variety. Retrieved May 8, 2018.
  20. ^ "Marie Colvin: a woman drawn to conflict in A Private War". Financial Times. January 29, 2019. Retrieved February 1, 2019.
  21. ^ "A Private War (2018)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved July 16, 2021.
  22. ^ "A Private War reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved December 14, 2018.
  23. ^ Debruge, Peter (September 30, 2018). "Film Review: 'A Private War'". Variety. Retrieved November 15, 2018.
  24. ^ "Golden Globe Awards 2019 Winners: The Complete List". E! News. January 6, 2019. Retrieved January 7, 2019.
  25. ^ "2018 Nominees". International Press Academy. November 29, 2018. Archived from the original on November 29, 2018. Retrieved November 29, 2018.
  26. ^ McNary, Dave (January 8, 2019). "Directors Guild Nominees Include Bradley Cooper, Alfonso Cuarón".

External links[edit]