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The Ghost Writer Review Critics


Dave White Profile

Ewan cracks another code. Read full review


Jen Yamato Profile

Scary good thrills from Roman Polanski. Read full review

Other Critics provided by

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

  • 4.0

    out of 100

    Generally favorable reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 100

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    This movie is the work of a man who knows how to direct a thriller. Smooth, calm, confident, it builds suspense instead of depending on shock and action.

    Read Full Review

  • 100

    out of 100

    Wall Street Journal

    The Ghost Writer is so rich you may feel you paid too little for your ticket when the whole thing meets its very Polanski-ish climax. Please don't tell anyone.

    Read Full Review

  • 60

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter Kirk Honeycutt

    This is a slicker, shallower exercise. It's hypnotic as it unfolds, but once the credit roll frees you from its grip, it doesn't bear close scrutiny.

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  • 75

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    Marked by clever twists and turns, the story unfolds at just the right pace. The dialogue -- adapted by Polanski and British writer Robert Harris from Harris' novel The Ghost-- is incisive and interspersed with wit.

    Read Full Review

  • 83

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Lisa Schwarzbaum

    Satisfying, melancholy political suspense story.

    Read Full Review

  • See all The Ghost Writer reviews at

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 15+

Intense, masterful political thriller OK for older teens.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this deftly written and directed tale of political intrigue will likely thrill fans of the genre, including older teens. It includes some swearing and brief nudity, and addresses mature subjects such as war crimes and terrorism. Another note: The director, Roman Polanski, is a controversial auteur who is in the news right now. He stands accused of sexually coercing a child many decades ago and leaving the country to avoid prosecution. This movie has nothing to do with his trial and legal situation.

  • Families can talk about what other recourse the ghostwriter has once he finds himself stuck in the middle of a scandal. What else could he have done? How else should he have responded?
  • What about the political issues brought up by the film? Is what the prime minister accused of actually a war crime?
  • The director, Roman Polanski, is embroiled in a huge scandal, accused of a crime -- rape -- committed long ago. Should this situation have any bearing on his work? Is his art separate from his private life?

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: No injustice will go unnoticed. Eventually the truth will come out, but the movie implies that there is always a cost to telling the hard truths and exposing injustice.

  • rolemodels true2

    Role models: The lead character, the ghost writer, starts off as indifferent, but soon becomes committed to uncovering the truth, but no good deed goes unpunished and most everyone seems in on this cruel joke.

What to watch for
  • violence false3

    Violence: A dead man’s body washes ashore. Another character is mugged (no weapons flashed, though he’s punched). A menacing feel sits over the movie, as a character races to solve the murder of another character. A man is shot.

  • sex false2

    Sex: A man sleeps with his married client; his naked backside is briefly glimpsed in the semi-dark. The couple is seen under the covers with their shoulders bared. A married man is implied to be having an affair with a member of his staff.

  • language false3

    Language: A few mentions of “f--k,” though most of the swear words heard here are milder, such as “s--t” and “goddamn.”

  • consumerism false3

    Consumerism: Logos for such firms as BMW, Virgin Air and CNN are clearly visible in various scenes.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false3

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Characters drink, sometimes during social occasions, and others, specifically to drown out sorrows/frustrations. A mention of marijuana use during college.