The Messenger (I) (2009)

R  |   |  Drama, Romance, War  |  4 December 2009 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 28,545 users   Metascore: 77/100
Reviews: 91 user | 215 critic | 32 from

An American soldier struggles with an ethical dilemma when he becomes involved with a widow of a fallen officer.


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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 15 wins & 40 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Monica Washington (as Yaya Dacosta)
Dale Martin
Paul Diomede ...
Motorcycle Cop
Jahmir Duran-Abreau ...
Teenager #1 (as Brian DeJesus)


While on a recent deployment to Iraq, US Army Staff Sergeant Will Montgomery is injured when an improvised explosive device goes off within close proximity to him. He is back in the States recovering from the more serious of those injuries, including one to his eye and leg. He has resumed a sexual relationship with his long time girlfriend Kelly, despite the fact that she is now engaged to another man who Will knows. With the few months Will has left in his enlistment, the army assigns him to the Casualty Notification Team in his area. Not having a background in counseling, psychology or grief management, he is unsure if he is well suited to this job. He is partnered with a career soldier, Captain Tony Stone, who teaches Will the precise protocol involved in the job. Tony tells Will, who quickly learns by on the job experience, that this job has its own dangers. As Will learns to adapt to the range of emotions of the next of kin, he is unprepared for the reaction of Olivia Pitterson, ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Romance | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and some sexual content/nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

4 December 2009 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El mensajero  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$6,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$44,523 (USA) (13 November 2009)


$1,108,684 (USA) (7 May 2010)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs



Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


First film directed by Oren Moverman. See more »


Ben Foster isn't wearing a Combat Infantryman Badge when notifying Steve Buscemi but has it adorned at the next notification of Olivia Pitterson at the clothesline. There shouldn't be an exception to wear his dress greens without it. Also it is made clear that Foster served as a mechanic in Army, and never served as an infantryman. Combat Infantryman Badges are only awarded to infantrymen. Foster would have been awarded The Combat Action Badge. See more »


Captain Tony Stone: You gotta wake the fuck up! You're not in high school, you're not in a fuckin' rock band, you're in the Army.
Staff Sergeant Will Montgomery: Yeah, I know. I know I'm in the Army. I gave blood to the Army. I got blown up in a fire-fight that lasted longer than your entire war. I didn't sunbath in Kuwait with the rest of the POGs.
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Snow Angel
Written by Nathan Larson
Performed by Hot One
Published by Music Of Nato
Courtesy of Modern Imperial
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

'The Messenger' is powerful and engaging film.
11 January 2010 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Brilliantly acted film depicting two soldiers whose job it is to inform families when loved ones are killed in battle. Harrelson has never been better and Foster more than matches him all the way. It's emotional and engaging and genuinely painful at times. I had always thought how hard it must be to carry out such a job but had never really considered just what psychologically damage it could do long term to the person doing it. Harrelson depicts a man who has been doing the job far too long brilliantly and Foster in turn shows just what it can do to you initially. It's a perfect blend and the chemistry is excellent from start to finish. Deserves a much wider release and is with out doubt one of the best films of last year.

66 of 76 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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