The Messenger

Released 2009


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Movie Summary

Oren Moverman
The Messenger is the acclaimed 2009 independent war romance directed and co-written by Oren Moverman (I'm Not There, Jesus' Son, Married Life). Captain Tony Stone (Woody Harrelson) is joined by Staff Sergeant Will Montgomery (Ben Foster) - a young man who has just recovered, physically anyway, from an explosive encounter in Baghdad that got a lot of his squad killed and gained him a medal. He's come back to find that his girlfriend (Jena Malone) is marrying somebody else. When he tries to relate to people, he tends to implode. Now he's assigned to spend his last three months of active duty with the captain, a shakily recovering alcoholic, who explains the rules and procedures of the difficult job of being (in the government euphemism) a Casualty Notification Officer, with grim, dictatorial bravado. You play it strictly by the book. You don't talk to anybody but the N.O.K. You do not wait around for the N.O.K. You get in, you say your piece, and you get out.moreless


Metacritic Score

  • 90

    The New York Times A.O. Scott

    No movie can convey the truth of war to those of us who have not lived through it, but The Messenger, precisely by acknowledging just how hard it is to live with that truth, manage...

  • 80

    Los Angeles Times Betsy Sharkey

    The film belongs to Foster. The actor always makes the most of what is handed him, though he's usually required to find his footings around the margins, as he did as the crazed cow...

  • 80


    Nobody plays angry like Ben Foster, but compassion is something new for the actor, who softens his crazy-man shtick to deliver a complex and moving performance in The Messenger.

Steve Buscemi

Steve Buscemi

Dale Martin

Woody Harrelson

Woody Harrelson

Captain Tony Stone

Jena Malone

Jena Malone


Ben Foster (I)

Ben Foster (I)

Staff Sergeant Will Montgomery

Samantha Morton

Samantha Morton

Olivia Pitterson

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Social Issues, Military & War