Rosewater (film)

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Rosewater poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJon Stewart
Produced byScott Rudin
Jon Stewart
Gigi Pritzker
Written byJon Stewart
Based onThen They Came for Me
by Maziar Bahari
and Aimee Molloy
StarringGael García Bernal
Kim Bodnia
Haluk Bilginer
Music byHoward Shore[1]
CinematographyBobby Bukowski
Edited byJay Rabinowitz
Distributed byOpen Road Films[2]
Release date
‹See TfM›
  • August 29, 2014 (2014-08-29) (Telluride)
  • November 14, 2014 (2014-11-14) (United States)
Running time
103 minutes[3]
CountryUnited States
Budget$5–10 million[4][5][6][7]
Box office$3.2 million[5]

Rosewater is a 2014 American political drama film written, directed and produced by Jon Stewart, based on the memoir Then They Came for Me by Maziar Bahari and Aimee Molloy.[8] It recounts Bahari's 2009 imprisonment by Iran, connected to an interview he participated in on The Daily Show that same year; Iranian authorities presented the interview as evidence that he was in communication with an American spy.[9] Due to the content of the film, Stewart has been accused by Iran's state TV of being funded by Zionists and working with the CIA.[10] The film was released in theaters on November 14, 2014.


In 2009, London-based Iranian-Canadian journalist Maziar Bahari is detained in Iran after he reports on violence against protesters of the country's presidential election, as well as giving a satirical interview with Jason Jones of The Daily Show.[11] While his pregnant fiancée waits for him, Bahari spends 118 days at Evin Prison being brutally interrogated.[12]

Bahari is usually blindfolded while being interrogated, and his interrogator's sole distinguishing feature is that he smells of rosewater.[12]



Rosewater was filmed in Jordan, with footage from Iran,[17] between June and mid-August 2013.[8] It had a budget of $5–10 million.[4][5][6][7]


On July 31, 2014, it was announced that the film would be released on November 7, 2014.[18] The film premiered at the Telluride Film Festival on August 29, 2014,[19] and it was screened in the Special Presentations section of the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival in September 2014.[20]


Box office[edit]

Rosewater grossed $3.2 million.[5]

In its opening weekend, the film grossed $1.2 million from 371 theaters, finishing 13th at the box office.[21]

Critical reception[edit]

Rosewater received mostly positive reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds a rating of 76%, based on 152 reviews, with an average rating of 6.67/10. The site's consensus reads, "Timely, solidly acted, and unabashedly earnest, Rosewater serves as an impressive calling card for first-time director Jon Stewart."[22] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 67 out of 100, based on 35 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[23]


  1. ^ "Howard Shore Scoring Jon Stewart's 'Rosewater'". Film Music Reporter. June 10, 2014. Retrieved August 15, 2014.
  2. ^ Fleming, Mike (May 12, 2014). "Open Road Acquires Jon Stewart's 'Rosewater' With Fall Release Planned". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved July 19, 2014.
  3. ^ "ROSEWATER (15)". British Board of Film Classification. November 26, 2014. Retrieved November 26, 2014.
  4. ^ a b "Jon Stewart's 'Rosewater' underwhelms at box office". CNN Money. November 28, 2014.
  5. ^ a b c d "Rosewater (2014)". The Numbers. Retrieved August 13, 2015.
  6. ^ a b The Guardian film blog
  7. ^ a b Siegel, Tatiana (June 12, 2013). "Jon Stewart Movie: Salary Issues Complicate Gael Garcia Bernal Casting". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved September 13, 2013.
  8. ^ a b c McClintock, Pamela (September 3, 2013). "Toronto: Jon Stewart to Pitch 'Rosewater,' Share First Footage". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved September 13, 2013.
  9. ^ Feldman, Josh (5 December 2013). "Iranian State TV Targets Jon Stewart for Directing Movie 'Commissioned by His Masters'". Mediaite. Retrieved 16 December 2013.
  10. ^ Ernst, Douglas (5 December 2013). "Jon Stewart, CIA superspy? Iranian TV creates new 'Zionist' conspiracy". Washington Times. Retrieved 16 December 2013.
  11. ^ "Rosewater (2014)". 2014. Retrieved 19 July 2014.
  12. ^ a b Rothman, Lily (6 March 2013). "What Is Rosewater, the Movie Taking Jon Stewart Away from The Daily Show?". Time.
  13. ^ Jeffries, Stuart (January 31, 2014). "The Bridge's Kim Bodnia: 'Darkness, misery, evil – we do them best'". The Guardian. Retrieved July 19, 2014.
  14. ^ Snider, Eric D. (2014-09-01). "Telluride 2014: Jon Stewart's "Rosewater" Is a Fine First Film, But That's About It". Complex.
  15. ^ "Awards Profile: Rosewater". - By Clayton Davis. Retrieved 14 November 2014.
  16. ^ Zachary Shevich. "Rosewater Review [TIFF 2014]". We Got This Covered. Retrieved 14 November 2014.
  17. ^ "Parts of Jon Stewart's new movie 'Rosewater' actually filmed in Iran". Retrieved 8 February 2015.
  18. ^ "Jon Stewart's 'Rosewater' Gets November 7 Release Date". Deadline Hollywood. July 31, 2014. Retrieved August 1, 2014.
  19. ^ Pete Hammond. "Jon Stewart's 'Rosewater' Enters The Oscar Conversation At Telluride Film Festival - Deadline". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 14 November 2014.
  20. ^ "Toronto Film Festival Lineup". Variety. Retrieved 22 July 2014.
  21. ^ "Weekend Box Office November 14-16, 2014 Weekend". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved April 15, 2015.
  22. ^ "Rosewater". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved May 13, 2020.
  23. ^ "Rosewater Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 22 November 2014.

External links[edit]