Rosewater ★★★★

Jon Stewart's writing and directing debut looks on the surface like yet another tale of political oppression and uplift and the indomitability of the human spirit and whatnot, but its saving grace is that it's actually funny. Not throughout, and not too much, and the humor doesn't undermine the tragedy, or the serious political message, or the tearjerking final shot. But it does relieve the film of excess sincerity or a feeling of emotional manipulation. Stewart has a nicely light touch in the late going that balances out some of the first-time-director flashiness in the earlier parts of the film. Full review for The Dissolve here.