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Whiskey Tango Foxtrot | 2016 | R | - 6.7.10

Based on true events: a cable news reporter (Tina Fey) takes an assignment in Kabul, Afghanistan in 2003 and she discovers a dust-filled war zone full of competing reporters, wild parties, chauvinism and chaos. A British journalist (Margot Robbie) and a Scottish photographer (Martin Freeman) become her friends, while an Afghan warlord tries to woo her. Also with Christopher Abbott, Billy Bob Thornton, Alfred Molina, Nicholas Braun and Sheila Vand. Directed by Glenn Ficarra & John Requa. Several lines of dialogues are in Afghan dialects with and without English subtitles. [1:51]

SEX/NUDITY 6 - A man is seen having sex with someone unseen on a couch during a crowded house party: we see his bare back and upper buttocks thrusting. A woman opens a laptop and slams it shut when she sees a man wearing a T-shirt behind what looks like a donkey's buttocks, thrusting slightly accompanied by loud braying (we see what she sees; we do not see the man's flesh).
 A woman goes home with a friend and they kiss passionately and begin removing outer garments and grunting and the screen goes black; the camera cuts to morning, with her in bed and a blanket up to her nose, looking at the man standing nearby (sex is implied) as she sits up (we see bra straps and bare shoulders) and says that only one of them had an orgasm last night (implying it was him). Two scenes show a woman under blankets looking at a dressed man on two mornings (sex implied). Two scenes show a man under blankets on two mornings, looking at a woman dressed and standing nearby (sex implied).
 A woman sees a male dog thrusting at the rear end of another dog outside a window.
 A woman talks to a man on a laptop screen and becomes angry when she and we see a nude woman across the screen's background (we see her bare back, buttocks, thighs, lower legs, shoulders and abdomen). Several men are seen shirtless in a party scene and a few women wear short shorts baring legs up to the upper thigh. A woman sees a shirtless man wearing sweatpants and he pulls down the pants slightly to look at one hip briefly. A woman in a gym wears tights and a long tube-top kind of blouse. A man lying in a chaise lounge and wearing short shorts and a shirt snaps a photo of a woman's buttocks in tight jeans. A few scenes include women wearing scoop-neck blouses and dresses that reveal cleavage.
 A woman says that she must urinate and grunts in discomfort; the camera cuts to her bent over with her buttocks behind a thick bush as Marines stand guard around her and we briefly see a narrow portion of white panties, but neither see nor hear urination and then she appears to be pulling up her jeans in a long shot (no flesh is seen).
 At an airport, a man asks his fiancée if they can have sex in the bathroom and she says, "I don't think I can get it up"; they kiss briefly and she leaves. A man asks a woman to be his special friend (i.e. sex partner) and she declines. A man pulls a curtain in his office back to reveal a king size bed with ornate pillows; when a woman does not respond to seeing this, the man looks sad. A man goes to a woman's house where he dances outside, saying that he likes to dance and wants to dance with her. A man tries to pick up a woman in a café and makes sexually suggestive remarks. A man looks down a woman's blouse as she sleeps in a sitting position on a couch (we see a little cleavage). A man asks a woman in a hallway to have sex and another man interrupts them to attend a meeting. A woman in a bar wears a man's suit, shirt and tie and smiles at another woman. A woman in a café makes a mouth-and-finger gesture suggesting oral sex to another woman who declines. A woman reporter in Afghanistan says that because of war stress "We drink and 'shag strange' in restaurant bars." A man behind a laptop whose screen we cannot see looks up and another man tells a woman, "He likes to watch man with donkey." A man says that another man watches porn. A woman asks another woman, "Can I [F-word deleted] your security guard?" and the second woman agrees. A Marine general tells a woman, "The Afghan War is like [F-word deleted] a gorilla; you stop when the gorilla wants to stop." Several men and women tell another woman that on a scale from 1 to 10 for attractiveness and sex, she is a 4 at home, but a 9 or 10 in Afghanistan; they say she will return to a 4 when she goes home. A general tells a woman, "Do not sleep with my Marines." Two Afghan officials state that a woman would make a handsome boy. A woman tells a man that he would be a 6 in NYC. A man says that he has just come from closing down a brothel. A woman records a man dancing and shows the video to him another day, saying that he looks to be dancing with a non-Muslim at a place serving alcohol. We hear that a man married and had two babies.
 An American woman wears a burqa over slacks and high heels and local men of all ages stare and smile at her; when her headscarf falls off, an older woman shouts that she is a whore and when she holds hands with a man the older woman slaps the hands apart and shouts.


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VIOLENCE/GORE 7 - Marines remotely blow up two vehicles carrying armed Afghan men as they attack another vehicle carrying Americans on a desert road: we see large clouds of dust and some fire as the camera cuts to men's bodies and one charred and bloody body lies with legs elevated and broken off at the knees, with bloody splintered bones sticking out while another man, charred, lies face down and one arm is bloody; we hear a screaming man and see him as he holds his bloody hand to his bloody face (we later hear that he lost an eye) and then see a woman in a hospital bed with small pitted red marks on her face and a cast on her forearm.
 A convoy is struck by gunfire as the men and a woman in the vehicles dodge bullets and bullets or spent cartridges fall through the roof of one vehicle onto the floor in front of a woman's feet; she yelps and exits, filming a confrontation between Marines and dozens of enemy gunmen in the background as we hear hundreds of automatic rifle shots and we see a few enemy men fall (with no blood showing), a rocket blows up a vehicle (no one is injured) and a general yells loudly about the expensive vehicle being wasted.
 A man accompanies US Marines on a night mission to a hideout where we hear a few muffled pops of rifle fire and a grenade (muffled) inside a dark building after Marines cut through a door with a blow torch; we see some furniture overturn and two Afghan men are shown lying on the floor, writhing in pain with a little facial blood.
 A house party stops when an explosion is heard off-screen and a man says, "That's a bomb" as the chandelier shakes and men and women shout and scramble to laptops; we see rubble and several small fires outside along with soldiers carrying rifles and a woman cries with blood on her dress as flashes of machine gun fire sound loudly in the background.
 A man boards a decrepit bus to leave Afghanistan and hears arguing as terrorists point rifles at the two male bus owners outside and one terrorist enters the bus and kidnaps the first man. Many scenes in Afghanistan feature automatic gunfire, mortar fire and explosions off-screen or in the background with small flashes of light from gun barrels.
 A woman sees pools of blood in part of a street and blood all over a man wearing an apron as she hears that lambs are being slaughtered (no animals are seen being harmed); she argues with several men and finally learns the whereabouts of the hideout where the a man is being held.
 Two men argue briefly and one man punches the other man, who falls and calls out, "You broke my nose!" (the nose is not broken). A warlord demands that an American woman pray a Muslim prayer to prove she is Muslim, but her guide talks the warlord out of this. A woman argues and then shouts loudly at an Afghan official to leave her alone and stop asking for sex (please see the Sex/Nudity category for more details). A woman argues with her guide and he quits because she takes too many chances as a woman. A woman argues sternly with a former friend from Kabul, criticizing the other woman for stealing the first woman's news stories. The first licensed female driver in Kabul backs into a large pile of trash and men shout angrily. An American woman in a burqa approaches a men-only outdoor meeting and films it; the men shout angrily and wave their forefingers at her to leave as the woman's guide rushes her away in a vehicle with the men banging on it as the guide yells for her to stay away from men-only events. An Afghan man says that the Taliban carries wooden dowels to measure the length of male pubic hair, which by law must be shaved; if the hair curls around the dowel, the law enforcement men beat the guilty party (we do not see this). A woman screams as loudly as possible into her phone in frustration. We hear that a water well was blown up in a couple of scenes and we see charred concrete and stones around a hole. A woman tells a general that the women of a town blew up a well with old Russian landmines so they can walk to the river for social enjoyment. In a small Afghan town we see a bombed out school room and on the black board is written "No education for women." A TV broadcast covering a bombing shows a close-up of a group of shouting men and one man shooting a handgun into the air.
 We hear that a US Marine lost both legs because a 12-year-old enemy child set an IED bomb and we later see the Marine walking on two prosthetic knees and lower legs. A man in a voting line sits in a wheelchair.
 A woman vomits into a large bucket beside her bed one morning (we hear the wretch and spit but see no vomit). A woman brushes her teeth in two scenes and we see spit. A man brushes his teeth in two scenes and we see white spit in one of the scenes. A woman coughs and a man tells her that the air is polluted with feces; we see red dusty air and dirt everywhere in many scenes.
 An airplane shakes in turbulence and a bag falls out of the overhead storage as a few people yelp in fright. Soldiers bet on and cheer a fight between a scorpion and a small beetle and the scorpion stings the insect and swallows it.


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LANGUAGE 10 - About 75 F-words and its derivatives, 2 obscene hand gestures, 5 sexual references, 27 scatological terms, 12 anatomical terms, 9 mild obscenities, name-calling (mullets, shameless whore, whore, dumb pretty people), exclamations (shut-up, shoot), 3 religious profanities (GD), 29 religious exclamations (e.g. Oh My God, Jesus, Oh God, My God, God, Christ, I Swear To God, Allah Akbar).


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SUBSTANCE USE - A house party features a man inhaling smoke from a large bong and a man inhaling white powder through a straw from a mirror on a table as well as men and women drinking from glasses of whiskey and bottles of beer as they dance, a grainy cellphone video of a man shows him snorting white powder, a doctor from a Kabul hospital tells a woman that many Afghan men come to the hospital to steal morphine and also use heroin and cocaine (we do not see this occurring), and a house party shows people smoking a giant hookah along with drinking whiskey and bottles of beer. A house party shows men and women drinking whiskey and beer in bottles and few men and a few women smoking cigarettes, a few men and women drink shots of whiskey around a campfire and a woman smokes a cigarette, a woman drinks shots of liquor off a man's bare belly as men and women in the background drink beer from bottles, two women present drink shots while sitting on a couch, a bottle of white wine is seen on a night stand and a woman sips wine from a glass, a man and three women in a café chug shots of liquor, a man and three woman drink whiskey from glasses and a bottle along with beer from bottles as they smoke cigarettes in a house, and two women drink champagne from tall glasses at an embassy party then go to a café where they chug shots of dark alcohol. A man fires a handgun into the air three times and lights his cigarette from the hot gun barrel, several men of all ages smoke cigarettes in the streets, two men use a hookah that contains water and tobacco in an office while men and women drink from beer bottles in the background, and several men smoke cigarettes while standing around a table in a house.


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DISCUSSION TOPICS - War correspondents, the Afghan War, Sharia Law, different religions, treatment of Afghan women, inequality of American women at home and abroad, sexual harassment, danger, risk taking, death, diligence, determination, courage, relationships, love, marriage, fidelity, friendship, respect.

MESSAGE - The Afghan War has been difficult to fight and to end, involving complex political issues and human rights abuses. Under conditions of war and possible death people will seek drinking, drugs and sex as a reaction.

CAVEATS

Be aware that while we do our best to avoid spoilers it is impossible to disguise all details and some may reveal crucial plot elements.

We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and older reviews are not as complete & accurate as recent ones; we plan to revisit and correct older reviews as resources and time permits.

Our ratings and reviews are based on the theatrically-released versions of films; on video there are often Unrated, Special, Director's Cut or Extended versions, (usually accurately labelled but sometimes mislabeled) released that contain additional content, which we did not review.


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