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Good Night, and Good Luck garnered many reviews, mostly full of praise by liberals -- conservative reviewers felt much differently about the film. Many applauded Clooney’s direction and passion for the subject matter, without which the film would not have existed. The critics agreed that Strathairn’s Murrow was phenomenally on target; he adopted the mannerisms and cadence to a tee. Although most critics consent that Murrow heroically stood up against the hysterical bullying of Senator McCarthy, some felt that the film cut the two people too thin: one was solely good, one was solely evil. The film needed to flesh out the characters more. In fact, one conservative reviewer felt the film was too self-serving in its liberalism and that McCarthy was not even close to being as “evil” as the film portrays. Furthermore, the film was often criticized as being claustrophobic because the outside world of the CBS studios was kept completely outside. Clooney’s choice to use archived footage of McCarthy instead of an actor was well-received. Moreover, the film was excitingly different than the Hollywood film, and it had important implications about today’s politics, where the Bush administration can limit individual freedoms without anyone standing up against it.

Atkinson, Michael. "Smoke and Mirrors." Rev. of Good Night, and Good Luck, dir. George Clooney. Village Voice 5 Oct. 2005: C56.
Atkinson finds the movie a landmark that resonates well in today's politics and media. Although it's a "meticulous period piece," he asserts that "the film is conscientiously about comradeship and community." Despite the movie's successes, Atkinson notices a few problems such as the claustrophobic setting (almost solely set in the CBS studios) and even history, for the somewhat anticlimactic dispute between Murrow and McCarthy. Overall, however, Atkinson believes that "the film is succinct and compact and unpretentious, but between its lines lurks a vast and chaotic social struggle, among ethical rectitude, private preservation, and the duties of media to support the citizenry."
Aucoin, Don. "Remembering One of Journalism's Finest Moments." Rev. of Good Night, and Good Luck, dir. George Clooney. Nieman Reports 59.4 (2005): 115.
Aucoin discusses the film in two distinct ways. He first worships Murrow, suggesting that the respectability and seriousness of the newscasting profession has declined sharply since his reign. Then he commends Clooney's film and its present-day relevance. Unlike contemporary news anchors like Tom Brokaw and Peter Jennings, who Aucoin believes are constantly "auditioning for the role of America's Chum," Aucoin establishes Murrow as being the "voice-of-God . . . serious man for serious times." He critiques the state of modern broadcast journalism and summarizes the importance of Murrow's showdown with McCarthy. Regarding the film, Aucoin compliments Clooney's use of real footage to accurately depict McCarthy as "a loon," as well as his choice to use the quiet yet powerful actor, David Strathaim, for Murrow's character. The classic reconstruction that results "invites us to consider parallels to the present day" such as the case of Valerie Plame, who was let go as a CIA agent when her husband wrote an op-ed piece accusing the Bush administration of twisting intelligence on Iraq's nuclear arms program.
Beck, Bernard. "Inspired by a True Story: Good Night, and Good Luck and Why We Need It." Multicultural Perspectives 8.3 (2006): 26-29.
Beck highlights the detail used by Clooney to emphasize the distance in time since the historical period, in particular the use of black and white to mirror "the appearance of television news in those days." Further, Beck touches upon typical patriotic films and specifically how this film differs from normal movies of that genre. Typically, Beck contends, patriotic films praise our free institutions and the need of citizens to protect them. Clooney's film does both; however, Beck argues that it likewise hints that America is failing in this struggle.
Berardinelli, James. Rev. of Good Night, and Good Luck, dir. George Clooney. Reelviews. Accessed 27 Feb. 2009. http://www.reelviews.net/php_review_template.php?identifier=937
Although Berardinelli praised Good Night, and Good Luck, his praise was somewhat covert. He noted that "today's climate of escalating paranoia isn't that different from what this country endured in the 1950s" (1). Because of the intensity of the issues, Berardinelli insists that Clooney kept to the facts and timeline of the historical time and the mannerisms of the people in this intelligent film. At the end of his review, he stamps his approval: "This is a fascinating and compelling piece of filmmaking, and its impact is enhanced by the style in which it is presented. Part docu-drama, part thriller, and part cautionary tale, the movie offers something to everyone who craves more than escapism from the cinema" (7).
Briley, Ron. Rev. of Good Night, and Good Luck, dir. George Clooney. Journal of American History 93.3 (2006): 985.
What strikes Briley most about the film is its implications for today's politics in the War on Terror. He argues that "the liberal Clooney contrasts the timidity of a corporate media that failed to challenge the George W. Bush administration's assumptions regarding weapons of mass destruction in Iraq with the courage Murrow and his producer Fred Friendly displayed." Briley finds the film too black-and-white in its portrayal of the "good" Murrow versus the "bad" McCarthy, and that main plot damages some of the subplots, such as Joe and Shirley Wershba's marriage. Although it's not a perfect film, Briley finds that "Clooney is a serious filmmaker seeking to use the past to illuminate the present."
Denby, David. "Getting the Story; The Current Cinema." Rev. of Good Night, and Good Luck, dir. George Clooney. New Yorker 81.31 (2005): 94.
This double movie review was well-written, favored Good Night, and Good Luck, and successfully tied the movie into today's politics. Denby asserted that Murrow was portrayed well as a hero without false attributions. The newsroom's hustle and bustle drove the film on, to success: "This is an elegant and stirring entertainment about the hard-drinking, hard-smoking reporters of ‘See it Now,' the show that Murrow and producer Fred Friendly put together every week—a group of men and women who marshaled their courage and their skills to overcome a noxious atmosphere of intimidation." Clooney, however, intended more in the film than entertainment and nostalgia, and Denby picks up on that. Today's culture seems to be just what Murrow feared: commercialism to the extreme and a dismissal of individual freedoms. Denby noticed that Clooney's "real intention appears to be to deliver a blow to the patella of a conglomerate-controlled press corps that, until recently, has indulged the Bush administration's most extravagant smears and lies. [Clooney] has completely succeeded."
Doherty, Thomas. Rev. of Good Night, and Good Luck, dir. George Clooney. Cineaste 31.1 (2005): 53.
Doherty wrote a great supportive review that also showed the film's flaws. He also felt that the film was too clear in who was "good" and who was "bad" in Murrow versus McCarthy, especially while it credits Murrow for most of McCarthy's downfall. The film does include another villain: "commercial television—and if that behemoth cannot be slain, it can at least be punctured and poked at." Doherty finds the film greatly intelligent and moral but also somewhat predictable, in that the flow centers on each broadcast and the preparation and outcome of them. Furthermore, Doherty asserts that there was a "visual caste system: the media players live in the action, the political players exist only in the archives." He finds fault in the time line as some events are crisscrossed for dramatic purposes and, more importantly, in a huge event that was left out of the film, namely that the Army released a record of illicit phone conversations that pushed McCarthy under the microscope. However, Doherty argues that "the cross-examination of the film as a historical text or a polemical tract obscures the purely cinematic virtues of a rare and gutsy entry in the current marketplace."
Ebert, Roger. Rev. of Good Night, and Good Luck, dir. George Clooney. Rogerebert.com Movie Reviews/Chicago Sun Times. Accessed 27 Feb. 2009. http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20051020/REVIEWS/51005004/1023
Ebert's review is neither entirely negative nor positive but falls somewhere in the middle. He approves of the subject matter, of Strathairn's Murrow, and of Clooney's choice in using McCarthy himself in archived footage. However, Ebert finds that "the movie is entirely, almost claustrophobically, about politics and the news business" (7). The movie isn't about McCarthyism as much as it is morality. Although Clooney's direction is interesting, the movie is too clear cut and too intellectual for the American public.
Eddlem, Thomas R. "Good Luck Finding the Truth Here." Rev. of Good Night, and Good Luck, dir. George Clooney. New American 21.22 (2005): 34.
Strikingly different than other reviewers, Eddlem attacks the movie for "catering to liberalism and perpetuating its mythology." Although he compliments the acting of both Strathairn and Langella, he finds the movie unrealistic and self-serving. Eddlem argues that McCarthy did not slander innocent people but sought out guilty Communists that were loyal to the USSR and not to America. Furthermore, he argues that "neither the corporate loyalty oath nor the Radulovich case have anything to do with McCarthy, but the viewer is led to believe there was a connection through McCarthy's supposed reign of fear." Eddlem points out that Murrow was not the sole person to criticize McCarthy, as much of the media attacked him regularly, nor was Murrow's attack the reason for McCarthy's demise; McCarthy's attack on Murrow actually led to the investigation of the Senator.
French, Philip. Rev. of Good Night, and Good Luck, dir. George Clooney. Guardian.co.uk/The Observer. Accessed 27 Feb. 2009. http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2006/feb/19/philipfrench
Although French supports the film, his review seems less than satisfactory. He argues that the film is "claustrophobic," that "there's nothing about Murrow's early background or of his current private life," and that "there's no light relief other than the sardonic exchanges between the broadcasters" (5). However, French finds the star uncanny in his portrayal of Murrow, and the film both "triumphant" (7) and "excellent" (10).
Gleiberman, Owen. Rev. of Good Night, and Good Luck, dir. George Clooney. Entertainment Weekly 14 Oct. 2005: 118.
Gleiberman reviews the film as "a curio: an energized sliver of history, smart, sharp, and lively, staged with enjoyable panache, yet so tidy and hermetic and limited in scope that it's like a one-hour PBS documentary stretched into dramatic form." He finds the successes and the weaknesses that make the movie both good and bad, which interestingly contrasts how the film portrays Murrow and McCarthy as one-sided people (either good or bad). He argues that, despite the film's success, it is thin. For instance, the characters are not well-developed: "the film never tries to dig beneath [Murrow's] flinty façade." Furthermore, the analogy to today's politics remains too hidden and off-screen. Gleiberman tears at the analogy: "George Bush, whatever you may think of his policies, isn't Joe McCarthy, and it's not as if his most fervent detractors in the press have been silenced." The film is fascinating yet too clean-cut and moralistic.
Scott, A. O. "News in Black, White and Shades of Gray." Rev. of Good Night, and Good Luck, dir. George Clooney. New York Times 23 Sept. 2005: E1.
Scott's review was very flattering and praiseful: "Good Night, and Good Luck is a passionate, thoughtful essay on power, truth-telling, and responsibility." The film is intelligent and complex, following both anti-McCarthyism and anti-entertainment television thematically, as well as innovative. He notes that he can "best sum up [his] own response by recalling the name of [Murrow's] flagship program: See it now."
Travers, Peter. Rev. of Good Night, and Good Luck, dir. George Clooney. Rolling Stone 8 Sept. 2005: 123.
Travers' review was short but praiseful of the film. He supports Clooney's political stand, his wit, and his passion that have combined to create an "electrifying movie." Furthermore, the subject matter of the unconstitutional limits to individual freedoms and the scarcity of people who stand up against the limits can be unmistakably applied today to America under the Bush administration. In sum, Travers asserts, "this hot-button film—one the year's best—is in a position to rile folks. A good reason to cheer Clooney's maverick triumph."
Turan, Kenneth. Rev. of Good Night, and Good Luck, dir. George Clooney. Los Angeles Times 7 Oct. 2005.
Turan raves about Good Night, and Good Luck. The movie is so completely different than the normal Hollywood movie, in a good way, and it shows the difficulty in sticking to your morals. He applauds the choice to film in black and white, the excellent actors, and Clooney's passion as a director and co-writer. Furthermore, the film has media and political "implications for today [that] are inescapable."
Zacharek , Stephanie. Rev. of Good Night, and Good Luck, dir. George Clooney. Salon.com Politics. Accessed 27 Feb. 2009. http://www.salon.com/ent/movies/review/2005/09/23/good_night_good_luck/index.html?CP=IM&DN=110
Zacharek is full of praise for the film: "What's exceptional about ‘Good Night, and Good Luck' is that it doesn't sacrifice craftsmanship and elegance at the altar of its strong convictions. This is serious grown-up entertainment with a sense of history and a sense of style" (2). She approves Clooney's passion and liberalism, while applauding the film for its intelligence and its drama. Moreover, Zacharek exclaims that "the picture isn't boring for an instant" (6).

See Also

Alleva, Richard. "Civil Courage." Rev. of Good Night, and Good Luck, dir. George Clooney. Commonweal 132.20 (2005): 20.

Bayles, Martha. "Ed vs. Joe vs. CBS." Rev. of Good Night, and Good Luck, dir. George Clooney. Weekly Standard 11.7 (2005): 41.

Fine, Gary Alan. "'See it Now' in Lurid Black and White." Rev. of Good Night, and Good Luck, dir. George Clooney. Contexts Summer 2006: Culture Reviews.

Hoberman, J. "See it Again." Rev. of Good Night, and Good Luck, dir. George Clooney. American Prospect 16.10 (2005): 41.

Hunter, Stephen. ‘"Good Night": A Grey Era in Stark Black and White." Washington Post 7 October 2005. C01.

Kauffmann, Stanley. Rev. of Good Night, and Good Luck, dir. George Clooney. New Republic (Oct. 2005): 24.

Kemp, Philip. Rev. of Good Night, and Good Luck, dir. George Clooney. Sight and Sound 16.3 (2006): 58.

Klawans, Stuart. "Lessons of Darkness." Rev. of Good Night, and Good Luck, dir. George Clooney. Nation 281.13 (2005): 48.

Lopate, Phillip. "The Medium and its Conscience." Rev. of Good Night, and Good Luck, dir. George Clooney. Film Comment 41.5 (2005): 30.

Macnab, Geoffrey. Rev. of Good Night, and Good Luck, dir. George Clooney. Sight and Sound 15.11 (2005): 26.

McCormick, Patrick. Rev. of Good Night, and Good Luck, dir. George Clooney. U.S. Catholic 71.1 (2006): 44.

Schorr, Daniel. "Now You Can See It." Rev. of Good Night, and Good Luck, dir. George Clooney. New Leader 88.6 (2005): 5.

Segal, Victoria. "Small-Screen Hero." Rev. of Good Night, and Good Luck, dir. George Clooney. New Statesman 19.899 (2006): 48.

Time Out. London Issue. 15-22 February 2006.

Tucker, Ken. "Where is Edward R. Murrow When We Need Him?" Rev. of Good Night, and Good Luck, dir. George Clooney. New York Magazine 38.33 (2005): 63.