Female war reporter savages new film about Marie Colvin’s life

‘You can’t call this a biopic’: Female war reporter slams new film about Marie Colvin saying it gets facts wrong, ERASES her ex and gives her a ‘Bridget Jones-style’ best friend she didn’t have

  • American war reporter Marie Colvin was killed in Homs, Syria in 2011 
  • New film A Private War documents her life travelling to conflict zones 
  • However, fellow war reporter Janine di Giovanni says the biopic isn’t realistic
  • She criticises artistic licence used to portray Colvin’s friends, family and editors 

It’s been hailed by critics but a new Hollywood film about the life of American War reporter Marie Colvin has been called ‘confusing’ and ‘not a biopic’ by her close friend.

A Private War, starring Rosamund Pike and directed by Matthew Heineman, documents the life of Colvin, who filed reports from conflict zones and was killed in Homs, Syria in 2012.

Following the film’s release in the US, Colvin’s close friend and fellow female war correspondent, Janine di Giovanni, has slammed the film for using artistic licence in the way key figures in Colvin’s life are portrayed. 

Writing in Harper’s Magazine, di Giovanni says the film is inaccurate in parts and offers a Hollywood spin on Colvin’s life.  

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Rosamund Pike stars as US war reporter Marie Colvin in new film A Private War. However, Colvin’s long-time friend and colleague has slammed the movie, saying it’s put a Hollywood spin on the journalist’s life

Colvin was killed in Syria in 2011, just hours after she’d filed a report on the army’s shelling of ‘a city of cold, starving civilians’. She lost her eye in 2001 after being hit by the Sri Lankan army

Author and foreign correspondent Janine di Giovanni has criticised Matthew Heineman’s film, saying many of the people in Colvin’s life – including her former employees and boyfriend – were portrayed as ‘good guys’ when in reality they weren’t

She said Covin’s employees at the Sunday Times were not the ‘good guys’ they’re portrayed to be in the film and that many of the characters are merely composites of real people.  

‘Colvin had many friends in London, but none of them were similar to the Bridget Jones–style girlfriend character (portrayed by Nikki Amuka-Bird) in the film. 

‘Her last boyfriend was not a caring and loving Stanley Tucci but rather a man who gave her immense heartache and distress.’

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Author and journalist di Giovanni also criticised some basic factual changes including a reference made by Colvin’s first husband, Patrick Bishop, to ‘heads on sticks’ in the opening scene of the film. 

She writes: There were no ‘heads on sticks’ in Bosnia, as the character meant to be Colvin’s first husband, Patrick Bishop, says in one of the opening scenes (heads were on sticks in Chechnya).’

The film is the first narrative feature by Matt Heineman and has been well received in the US following its release in early November

However, Janine di Giovanni says that while she ‘respects’ the film paying tribute to her friend, she doesn’t want young girls to think that war reporting is glamorous 

Marie Colvin, 56 at the time of her death, was born in the US but lived in Hammersmith, London, writing for the Sunday Times

Colvin, pictured in Chechnya in 1999, lost the sight in her left eye after being struck by the Sri Lankan army in 2011

And Colvin’s second husband, Juan Carlos Gumucio, an obviously important figure in her life, is ‘erased from the script altogether’.

di Giovanni concludes though that she still ‘respects’ the film for paying testament to the courage and legacy of her friend but adds: ‘I just don’t want young women to watch it and think that being a war reporter is glamorous’. 

Colvin became known for her distinctive eye patch and tragically died during a rocket attack in 2012 while covering the civil war in Syria – just hours after telling the world how Bashar al-Assad’s army was ‘simply shelling a city of cold, starving civilians’.

A Private War chronicles her life’s work and is adapted from Marie Brenner’s 2012 Vanity Fair article Marie Colvin’s Private War.

Marie’s family have since launched legal action against the Syrian government. charging it with arranging her death in 2012.

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