This shouldn’t be surprising given the director, but Rosewater is also very funny. Bahari’s torture is grueling, even without necessarily showing everything in graphic detail, and Stewart takes any opportunity he can to alleviate the psychological torture with brief spots of humor. And, Jon Stewart being Jon Stewart, those moments of humor are laugh-out-loud humor, so much so that Rosewater nearly turns into a black comedy in its third act. Gael García Bernal also turns in a fine performance as Bahari, a man who is cautious to engage in the political conflict in Iran both because he’s aware of the clear lines in the sand drawn by the regime and because he has a loving wife and a baby on the way.
Rosewater is a solid political drama. While it doesn’t innovate in any notable way or add anything new, it tells an important story and shows that Jon Stewart certainly has a knack for feature filmmaking.