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The Ghost Writer (2010)

PG-13  |   |  Crime, Drama, Mystery  |  19 March 2010 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 127,554 users   Metascore: 77/100
Reviews: 344 user | 340 critic | 35 from Metacritic.com

A ghostwriter hired to complete the memoirs of a former British prime minister uncovers secrets that put his own life in jeopardy.



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An unremarkable ghost-writer has landed a lucrative contract to redact the memoirs of Adam Lang, the former UK Prime Minister. After dominating British politics for years, Lang has retired with his wife to the USA. He lives on an island, in luxurious, isolated premises complete with a security detail and a secretarial staff. Soon, Adam Lang gets embroiled in a major scandal with international ramifications that reveals how far he was ready to go in order to nurture UK's "special relationship" with the USA. But before this controversy has started, before even he has closed the deal with the publisher, the ghost-writer gets unmistakable signs that the turgid draft he is tasked to put into shape inexplicably constitutes highly sensitive material. Written by Eduardo Casais <casaise@acm.org>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Read between the lies.

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for language, brief nudity/sexuality, some violence and a drug reference | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:




| |


Release Date:

19 March 2010 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Ghost Writer  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$45,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$183,009 (USA) (19 February 2010)


$15,523,168 (USA) (11 June 2010)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


Was originally filmed as a R rated thriller but upon its purchase for US distribution, it was needed to be cut down to PG-13 to ensure a wider audience. This was done by cutting out 18 F-words, 3 C-words, and also some more graphic sexual dialog as well as trimming some CGI blood spray during a death scene. See more »


A yellow and black striped buoy viewed from the ferry is a European type not found in US waters. See more »


[first lines]
The Ghost: You realize I know nothing about politics.
Rick Ricardelli: You voted for him, didn't you?
The Ghost: Adam Lang? Of course I did, everyone voted for him. He wasn't a politician, he was a craze.
See more »

Crazy Credits

There are no opening credits. The title and cast list do not appear until after the last scene of the movie. See more »


Featured in The Oprah Winfrey Show: Oprah's Pre-Oscar Special (2010) See more »


Marcia Funebre
Allegro Assai from Beethoven's Symphony No. 3
Written by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performed by Symphony Nova Scotia
Conducted by Georg Tintner
Courtesy of Naxos of America, Inc.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Well-crafted thriller, but some loose ends in the plot
2 May 2010 | by (Italy) – See all my reviews

No doubt Roman Polansky knows how to build a gripping movie, with craft and wit, in this case a political thriller, where references to Blair and Bush are no so much explicit, but subtle enough to be perceived somehow. Reviews underlined a style resembling Hitchcock: indeed, the story proceeds, creating suspense, thrill, without appealing to excessive action or shock, although never reaching Hitchcock's subtlety of insight and mystery, both in characters and situations. Mostly, the plot proves some loose ends as the craftily prepared intrigue seems to come to a hasty ending, leading to a finale which does not appear up to the great potential and high expectations of its previous development.

Convincing and well-focused performances by the whole cast, especially by Ewan McGregor who keeps a high-level performance, never abusing his intriguing role, but thoroughly contained, Pierce Brosnan proves good in his part, although his past stereotyped roles make it difficult to see him credible as a former prime minister, Olivia Williams as his wife Ruth delivers a smart and talented performance. Quite interesting are some minor characters, such as the members of the service, or the old man living on the island, who enhance, despite or probably thanks to their more silent presence, the mysterious atmosphere of the story.

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