Welcome to Sarajevo

Released 1997


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Movie Summary

Michael Winterbottom
Welcome to Sarajevo is a 1997 feature film directed by Michael Winterbottom. It is an adaptation of the book Natasha's Story, authored by Michael Nicholson. The movie takes place in 1992 during the Bosnian crisis. The protagonist is a British journalist, Michael Henderson (Stephen Dillane), who is on scene at the Holiday Inn in Sarajevo, Bosnia's capital. Henderson is competing with an American journalist, Jimmy Flynn (Woody Harrelson) for the best war footage. The petty rivalry emerges in the context of the disastrous bombing of the city and the devastation at a nearby orphanage. The crisis at the orphanage is sadly being ignored by the media at home, despite Henderson's best efforts. The British journalist decides to try and smuggle the children of the orphanage with the help of an American aid worker, Nina (Marisa Tomei). However, the orphanage bus is boarded and evacuated by the Serbian army. Henderson does manage to smuggle one Bosnian girl, Emira, out of the country to London. Things continue to go awry as Henderson suddenly gets a call from Emira's mother, asking him to bring her daughter back to Bosnia in the midst of the escalating crisis.moreless

Metacritic Score

  • 60

    The New York Times Elvis Mitchell

    Yet this film, for all its apparent immediacy, winds up less affecting than a more poetic or roundabout approach might be.

  • 60

    Los Angeles Times Kenneth Turan

    But bearing witness can be a complex thing and in its concern to illuminate Sarajevo is prone to overkill, to trying too hard to squeeze in every troubling wartime incident.

  • 60

    Variety Derek Elley

    The film's persistent skimming from one vantage point to another, with no dominant dramatic line until midway through, will unsettle audiences expecting a more regular construction...

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