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Argo Review Critics


Dave White Profile

Star Wars with fake stars and no war. Read full review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 5.0

    out of 100

    Universal acclaim
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 100

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    A superbly crafted and darkly funny real-life political thriller, with pitch-perfect performances.

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  • 100

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Owen Gleiberman

    Argo is never less than wildly entertaining, but a major part of its power is that it so ominously captures the kickoff to the world we're in now.

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  • 100

    out of 100

    Wall Street Journal Joe Morgenstern

    The results are nothing less than sensational.

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  • 90

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter Todd McCarthy

    Argo is a crackerjack political thriller told with intelligence, great period detail and a surprising amount of nutty humor for a serious look at the Iran hostage crisis of 1979-81.

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For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 16+

Taut political thriller based on real-life escape from Iran.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Argo is based on the true story of a daring covert rescue mission, carried out by CIA operative Tony Mendez (played by Ben Affleck, who also directs), during the 1979 Iranian hostage crisis. A few scenes feature unruly mobs and dead bodies, and there are some extremely tense sequences during the escape, but there's not much actual on-screen violence. Other issues include swearing (there's quite a bit, including "f--k" and "s--t") and several scenes that show people smoking and drinking during social occasions.

  • Families can talk about the fact that the whole Argo mission is built around a huge deception. Why is it OK to lie in this situation? Are there other times that it's OK?
  • Some Canadians are apparently miffed that their participation in the rescue has been minimized in the film. When it comes to portraying real-life events, should Hollywood hew to the historic accounts? Or does entertainment trump accuracy?
  • Are the characters role models? What about the "bad guys"? How are they portrayed? How might this story play out differently if it had been made in another country?

The good stuff
  • message true3

    Messages: The CIA goes to extreme lengths -- and one agent risks his life -- to save six people who need to get out of Iran before they're captured by revolutionaries. It's a patriotic story, based on a real mission, that highlights the agency's sense of duty during very difficult times.

  • rolemodels true4

    Role models: CIA operative Tony Mendez has one firm rule: Never leave anyone behind. He goes to extraordinary lengths to rescue six people before they're captured. The entire movie is built around a huge lie, but it's clear that the deception is both justified and necessary, and Mendez puts his own life on the line to pull it off.

What to watch for
  • violence false3

    Violence: An unruly mob overruns the U.S. embassy, waving guns and threatening people. Soldiers fire tear gas into a crowd. People are manhandled and shoved around. Later, militants threaten to shoot hostages, even setting up a firing squad. Other scenes show victims of the violence in Iran, including death by point-blank gunfire and hanging. Several scenes include tense stand-offs between soldiers and people trying to hide their identities, and though there's not much violence, the anxiety is palpable. Lots of guns.

  • sex false1

    Sex: Some scantily clad actresses in scenes involving sci-fi movie shoots. A married couple hugs.

  • language false4

    Language: Frequent swearing includes "f--k" (and many variations thereof, including a running joke involving the movie's title and word "f--k"), "s--t," "prick," "a--hole," "d--k," "hell," "goddamn," "Jesus Christ" (as an exclamation), and more.

  • consumerism false1

    Consumerism: One character drinks Miller beer and eats at McDonald's. A wealthy movie executive drives a Rolls Royce.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false2

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Several scenes show people drinking wine and cocktails at meals. A man drinks liquor alone in a hotel room, straight from the bottle, after getting bad news; it's also implied that he drinks wine "for courage" in another tense situation. Pretty frequent smoking (accurate for the era).