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A Mighty Heart is a 2007 film directed by Michael Winterbottom; It is an adaptation of Mariane Pearl's memoir, A Mighty Heart. Although initially a financial failure, A Mighty Heart was met with relatively positive reviews from both critics and viewers alike.

The film was released in North America on June 22, 2007.


A Mighty Heart is a detailed account of the search for kidnapped Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl in 2002.

Pearl was kidnapped in Karachimarker by supporters of Omar Sheikh, who claimed responsibility (and was later captured and convicted but is appealing the ruling) for kidnapping and beheading Pearl in 2002. The movie also covers efforts by Department of Justicemarker and the U.S. Department of State's Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) to track the kidnappers and bring them to justice.

The story might be of Daniel Pearl, but the picture is of a very good romantic as well as drama genre.



A Mighty Heart was filmed mostly in India and some parts in France and Pakistan, during the summer and fall of 2006. Almost all the scenes in which Pakistan was depicted were shot in Punemarker, India, because of the increased terrorism and lack of security in Pakistan.

Box office performance

A Mighty Heart performed poorly at the box office, earning a total revenue of $18 million in box office compared to its production budget of $17 million. The film opened June 22, 2007 in the United States and Canada and grossed $3.9 million in 1,355 theaters its opening weekend, ranking #10 at the box office. It went on to gross $18,727,125 worldwide. As of December 16, the film has grossed an additional $5.4 million dollars in DVD/VHS sales and rentals in the United States.

Critical reception

The film received generally favorable reviews from critics. The review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reported that 77% of critics gave the film positive reviews, based on 175 reviews. Metacritic reported the film had an average score of 74 out of 100, based on 38 reviews.

Jolie's performance was widely touted by top critics as her finest artistic achievement to date. Both she and the film received a positive review from Roger Ebert. The film was described by Newsweek as "a movie without melodrama or movie-star lighting…allowing Jolie to deliver the most delicate, powerful and human-scale performance of her career." Other favorable reviewers included Peter Travers of Rolling Stone, Justin Chang of Variety and Ray Bennett of Hollywood Reporter. Marc Mohan of The Oregonian named it the 10th best film of 2007.

However, Andrew O'Hehir, film critic for, while finding Jolie's performance "restrained and dignified", dismissed the film itself, writing, "it feels like an extra-long episode of "24" with a bad conscience and a bad ending."
 Entertainment Weekly s Lisa Schwarzbaum felt that Jolie's celebrity was a problem, commenting that "Despite the best of intentions, an actress who makes her own headlines gets in the way of the big picture."


Asra Nomani, a colleague of Daniel Pearl who had agreed to participate in the film, stated that the film failed to portray Pearl in favor of creating a dramatic arc of "ordinary heroes," in reaction to which she believes Pearl would have "rolled his eyes." She described her reaction: "For me, watching the movie was like having people enter my home, rearrange the furniture and reprogram my memory."

The announcement of the casting of Angelina Jolie in the role of Mariane Pearl drew criticism within the African American community. Orville Lloyd Douglas, a pop critic, has criticized the casting because, he said, "Jolie is white" and Mariane Pearl is "biracial." In fact, Pearl is the multi-racial daughter of a Dutch-Jewish father and an Afro-Chinese-Cuban mother. Mariane Pearl personally chose Angelina Jolie to play the lead in A Mighty Heart. In response to casting complaints, Mariane Pearl said "I have heard some criticism about her casting, but it is not about the color of your skin. It is about who you are. I asked her to play the role—even though she is way more beautiful than I am—because I felt a real kinship to her. She put her whole heart into it, and I think she understood why we should do this movie. We had something to say that we knew we should say together."


On November 27, 2007, the film was nominated for 3 Independent Spirit Awards including Best Screenplay, Best Actress and Best Picture of the Year.

Jolie was nominated for a Teen Choice Award for Best Movie Actress: Drama. She was also nominated for a Golden Satellite Award for Best Movie Actress: Drama and received an Outstanding Performance of the Year Award for her performance from the Santa Barbara International Film Festival. SBIFF Executive Director Roger Durling said, "We are honored to celebrate Ms. Jolie in what is arguably one of the most extraordinary female roles of the year".

Award Category Nominee Won
65th Golden Globe Awards Best Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama Angelina Jolie Nominated
Screen Actors Guild Awards Best Actress Angelina Jolie Nominated
Golden Satellite Awards Best Actress Angelina Jolie Nominated
Independent Spirit Awards Best Actress (Female Lead) Angelina Jolie Nominated
Best Film (Feature) Nominated
Best First Screenplay John Orloff Nominated
Teen Choice Awards Best Actress - Drama Angelina Jolie Nominated
34th People's Choice Awards Favorite Independent Movie Nominated


  2. "A Mighty Shame" by Asra Q. Nomani, The Washington Post opinion, June 24, 2007
  3. Note: this article is also on the Institute for Jewish & Community Research website ( link).
  4. 10 Questions for Mariane Pearl by Carolyn Sayre, Time Q&A June 21, 2007
  5. A Mighty Heart (2007) - Awards

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