A Mighty Heart
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A Mighty Heart is a 2007 drama film directed by Michael Winterbottom from a screenplay by John Orloff. It is based on the 2003 memoir of the same title by Mariane Pearl.

The film was screened out of competition at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival, before being released in North America on June 22, 2007. A Mighty Heart was met with positive reviews from critics but was a box office failure.


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

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


  • Dan Futterman as Daniel Pearl
  • Angelina Jolie as Mariane Pearl
  • Will Patton as Randall Bennett, Special Agent U.S. Diplomatic Security Service (DSS)
  • Alyy Khan as Sheikh Omar/Bashir
  • Archie Panjabi as Asra Nomani
  • Irrfan Khan in film as Javid Habib, SSP CID, Karachi (Character based on Zeeshan Kazmi, Karachi Police Chief)
  • Adnan Siddiqui as Dost Aliani
  • William Hoyland as John Bauman, U.S. Consul-General
  • Denis O Hare as John Bussey Wall Street Journal Foreign Editor
  • Bilal Saeed as Moinuddin Haider, Interior Minister of Pakistan
  • Shah Murad Aliani as Amjad Farooqi
  • Ahmed A. Jamal as Khalid Khawaja, Pakistani Air Force member of ISI
  • Daud Khan as Masud the Fixer, founder of Jaish-e-Mohammed and mentor to Sheikh Omar
  • Ikram Bhatti as Sheikh Gilani, Cleric & founder of Jamaat ul-Fuqra
  • Jeffry Kaplow as Judea Pearl
  • Perrine Moran as Ruth Pearl
  • Azfar Ali as Azfar
  • Imran Hasnee as Journalist
  • Jillian Armenante as Maureen Platt
  • Zachary Coffin as Matt MacDowell
  • Demetri Goritsas as John Skelton
  • Pervez Musharraf as himself President of Pakistan archival footage
  • Colin Powell as himself United States Secretary of State archival footage
  • Sajid Hasan as Zubair
  • Mikail Lotia as Hasan
  • Gary Wilmes as Steve LeVine, Wall Street Journal Central Asia Correspondent
  • Sean Chapman as US Journalist


A Mighty Heart was filmed primarily in India and France, during the summer and fall of 2006. Fearing for the safety of star Angelina Jolie and the rest of the cast and crew, the vast majority of the film, set in Karachi, was filmed in Pune, India.

However, before production was officially announced, Winterbottom traveled with co-star Dan Futterman and a skeleton crew to Karachi for ten days of filming at actual locations from the events.

The production also shot multiple scenes in Austin, Texas in early 2007, including a key sequence with Marianne Pearl giving an interview in a Karachi hotel. Also filmed in Austin were exteriors of the Pearl family house (set in Los Angeles) and scenes set at The Wall Street Journal offices in New York, which were filmed in the offices of the Austin American-Statesman.

Box-office performance

A Mighty Heart performed poorly at the box office, only earning a total revenue of $18 million compared to its production budget of $16 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, 2007, the film has grossed an additional $5.4 million in DVD/VHS sales and rentals in the United States.

Critical reception

The film received positive reviews from critics. Rotten Tomatoes reports that 79% of critics gave the film positive reviews, based on 192 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 The Hollywood Reporter. Marc Mohan of The Oregonian named it the 10th best film of 2007.

However, Andrew O Hehir, film critic for Salon.com, 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 as a journalist, doing his job, in favor of creating a dramatic arc of ordinary heroes . She believes Pearl would have rolled his eyes at that description. Describing her own response to the film, Nomani said, 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 mixed race . Pearl is, in fact the multiracial daughter of an Afro-Chinese-Cuban mother and a Dutch Jewish father. Pearl personally chose Jolie to play the lead in A Mighty Heart. In response to casting complaints, 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 three Independent Spirit Awards including Best Screenplay, Best Actress and Best Picture of the Year.

Jolie was nominated for a Golden Globe Award, a Screen Actors Guild Award, and a Critics Choice Movie Award for best actress. She also 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 Result
Golden Globe Awards Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama Angelina Jolie Nominated
Golden Satellite Awards Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama Angelina Jolie Nominated
Screen Actors Guild Awards Best Actress Angelina Jolie Nominated
Critics Choice Movie Awards Best Actress Angelina Jolie Nominated
Independent Spirit Awards Best Actress 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
Cannes Film Festival Chopard Trophy Archie Panjabi Won

Year 2007
ReleaseDate 2007-06-22
RuntimeMins 108
RuntimeStr 1h 48min
Plot Mariane Pearl embarks on a frantic search to locate her journalist husband, Daniel, when he goes missing in Pakistan.
Awards Awards, 4 wins & 19 nominations
Directors Michael Winterbottom
Writers John Orloff, Mariane Pearl
Stars Angelina Jolie, Dan Futterman, Irrfan Khan
Produced by Andrew Eaton,Dede Gardner,Arti Gupta,Susan Kirr,Anita Overland,Brad Pitt
Music by Harry Escott,Molly Nyman
Cinematography by Marcel Zyskind
Film Editing by Peter Christelis
Casting By Wendy Brazington,Ellen Lewis
Production Design by Mark Digby
Art Direction by David Bryan
Set Decoration by Emma Field-Rayner
Costume Design by Charlotte Walter
Makeup Department Catherine Conrad,Gabriel De Cunto,Toni G,Christine Giugno,Alex King,Marese Langan,Adruitha Lee,Christien Tinsley
Production Management Raphaël Benoliel,Jane Coombes,Alice Dawson,Melissa Parmenter,Nicolas Piechaczek
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director Meg Beatty,Michael Elliott,Nitin Gaikwad,Vanessa Gaitan,Zoe Liang,Eliot Mathews,Sandeep Menon,Bonnie Pirès,Vasudha Rungta,Vihan Suryavanshi,Anthony Wilcox,Chironjib Bordoloi,Arindam Mukherjee
Art Department Amy Bell,Nitin Borkar,Laurel Brock,Josh Crist,Rajesh Dagar,Donald Reagen Gracy,Ashutosh Hinge,Prashant Laharia,Anita Rajgopalan Lata,Lewis Partovi,Jillian Paul,Samita Sarkar,Ejaz Shaikh,Sai Sharma,Christopher Stull,Andrew Tapper,Travis Eisenberg,Shane Pritchett
Sound Department Nick Adams,Bob Baron,David O. Daniel,Richard Davey,Mark DeSimone,Shoab Faruch,Richard Flynn,Samir Foco,Peter Gleaves,Rashad Hall-Heinz,Sue Harding,Larry Hopkins,Michael Jacobi,Mark Kenna,Chris Sturmer,Joakim Sundström,Jessie Taylor,Chris Treble,Robert Weatherall,Bernard Weiser,Will Whale,Stuart Wilson,Paul Wrightson
Visual Effects by Adam Garner,Marc Knapton,Gus Martinez
Camera and Electrical Department Donald R. Howe Jr.,Henry Landgrebe,Matthew McGinn,Peter Mountain,P.K. Munson,Frank Omø,Donis Rhoden,Simon Tindall
Animation Department Prashant Laharia
Casting Department Sally Allen,Ruth Breslaw,Claire Traeger
Costume and Wardrobe Department Harriet Balsom,Natalia Georgiadou,Fiona McCann,Celia Yau,Sarah Touaibi,Hannah Walter
Editorial Department Justinian Buckley,Dan Coles,Richard Cradick,Pete Harrow,Jo McCaffery,Paul Monaghan,Immanuel von Bennigsen
Location Management Arnaud Duterque,Jose Angel Hernandez,Shobie Partos,Amine Sahnoun,Vihan Suryavanshi
Music Department Yolanda Antonio,Robert Blackwood,Tracey Campbell,Nick Carter,Ben Chappell,Andrew Fisher,Craig Fortnam,Inder Goldfinger,Isobel Griffiths,Gabrielle Lester,Steve Mair,Everton Nelson,Jimmy Robertson,Allen Walley,Nick Wollage,Ian Wood,Pati Yang,Warren Zielinski,Mark Berrow,Steve Parr
Script and Continuity Department Susanna Lenton
Transportation Department Travis Carr,David Piechaczek
Additional Crew David Blank,Mary Beth Chambers,Erin Charles,Catherine Charlton,Caroline Connor,Emily Currie,Alice Dawson,Greg Deist,Raadhika Dosa,Jon Duncan,Scott Eaton,Holly Goline,Veronica Green,Ryan Gronquist,David Groom,Michael Groom,Jethro Harris,Brian Hillard,Franziska Hoch,Josh Hyams,Amy Jackson,Steve Joberns,Nazia Khan,Bernard Lamy,Martin Marquet,Meg Mathisen,Maeve McEvoy,Fiona McGuire,Jennifer S. Milliman,Jamal Udin Mommad,Peggy Mulloy,Fiona Neilson,Asra Q. Nomani,Mariane Pearl,Bonnie Pirès,Joan Washington,Sarah Wheale,Mat Whitecross,Eva Yates,Albert Zimer,Amy Israel,Noel Davis Poyner
Genres Biography, Drama, History
Companies Paramount Vantage, Plan B Entertainment, Revolution Films
Countries USA, UK
Languages English, French, Urdu, Arabic
ContentRating R
ImDbRating 6.6
ImDbRatingVotes 27690
MetacriticRating 74
Keywords journalist,pakistan,missing,wall street journal,jew