News of the World – Movie Review

Tom Hanks gives us a look into a Civil War captain’s mind in the character study, News of the World. 

News of the World opens in theaters on December 25th. 

Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd (Hanks) brings the townsfolk together to share the news from the various papers from around the county. Tucked neatly into a leather-bound roll are newspaper clippings the Captain to share. Before the war, he helped publish news in his hometown. He brings the news stories to life in a way that makes them interesting, providing the townsfolk with a source of entertainment. 

Tom Hanks as Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd in “News of the World,” co-written and directed by Paul Greengrass. Photo Credit: Bruce W. Talamon/U

We get the sense that Kidd avoids his past of surviving three wars by keeping his life on the move. Running from the pain but bringing a glimmer of hope to the people he shares the news with. He seems to come alive when her shares stories of gripping adventures in the mines or rulers from around the world.

Along his journey through the plains of Texas, he stumbles upon a crash with a bloody trail that leads him to the young Johanna (Helena Zengal). Johanna is a 10-year-old girl taken in by the Kiowa people six years earlier and raised as one of their own. Her family was murdered right in front of her, and she carries her own feelings with her. She speaks little English and wants to return to her life with the Kiowa people being forced from the area. Kidd agrees to bring her to her only living family, a biological aunt and uncle.

Their journey has them crossing paths with plenty of unsavory people and conditions. Kidd and Johanna form a bond during their journey, leaving Kidd in a hard place when he returns the girl to her new home. Kidd discovers that his life is missing since his wife passed away is someone to share his love for traveling the nation to share the world’s news.

Hanks’s transformation in the film gives us a look into a character that has been through a great deal of pain in his life, and Johanna brings a side that requires a great deal of nurturing and patients. The pair make an interesting duo on screen. Johanna doesn’t do much talking, leaving long moments of silence while they journey the plains. It’s an interesting look at how the nation chose to heal after the Civil War.

(from left) Johanna Leonberger (Helena Zengel) and Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd (Tom Hanks) in “News of the World,” co-written and directed by Paul Greengrass. Photo Credit: Bruce W. Talamon/U

There are moments in the movie that are slow between scenes, but the action takes place as the duo reach the different towns along their trip. 

News of the World is directed by Greengrass (the Bourne films, United 93) from his screenplay with Luke Davies (Lion), based on the National Book Award finalist and best-selling novel by Paulette Jiles. The film is produced by Gary Goetzman (Mamma Mia! franchise, Greyhound), Gail Mutrux (The Danish GirlDonnie Brasco), and Gregory Goodman (22 July8 Mile). The executive producers are Steven Shareshian and Tore Schmidt. The film’s music is by eight-time Academy Award® nominee James Newton Howard.


Meghan Cooper
Meghan Cooper
Meghan Cooper is a writer, content creator, movie critic, and geek living in Atlanta, Ga. She loves movies, traveling, and lots of coffee. Member of the Southeastern Film Critics Association, Georgia Film Critics Association, and Atlanta Film Critics Circle.


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