Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Frost/Nixon directed by Ron Howard

Brace yourself! The power of the presidency collides with that of the media in this fascinating film. If you missed Frost/Nixon when it was released four years ago, now is the perfect time to check it out.

The year is 1977. Watergate is still fresh in the minds of all who watched Richard Nixon's televised resignation in 1974 during which he relinquished the Presidency, but did not admit any wrongdoing. Popular British talk show host David Frost is determined to land a television interview with Nixon which will end with Nixon's confession of guilt. Frost succeeds in arranging the interview, but now he must face a powerful adversary in front of the camera - someone more intelligent, wily and skilled at wordplay than he ever imagined.

Michael Sheen and Frank Langella give captivating performances as Frost and Nixon. Personally, I have always imagined Richard Nixon to be sort of bumbling and goofy. Langella's portrayal of him could not be further from the truth. In this movie he is brilliant, charming and intensely commanding. If anything, I have a new respect for Nixon after watching the film. As much as we Americans enjoy making fun of our presidents, I guess fools don't make it to the White House. The competition is simply too fierce. Another thing I learned is that once you are President, you will always be President, no matter how much trouble you've managed to stir up.

While we are on the subject of past transgressions, you may want to refresh your memory of a more recent one by reading The Death of American Virtue: Clinton vs. Starr by Ken Gormley. Looking for a way to explain all of this madness to your kids? Try Presidents and Scandals by Russell Roberts.

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