“Game Change” Is Stunning

The best movie I’ve seen in a long time

Last week I saw “Game Change” on HBO and was completely blown away. “Game Change” stars Ed Harris as John McCain and Julianne Moore as Sarah Palin. It’s an unbelievably good movie, but it’s not for the reasons that you might think.

Yes the story is provocative, and if you are a bleeding-heart Democrat, you’ll get a pleasure out of watching the Republican Party suffer through the nightmare that was/is Sarah Palin. But even if you are a hardcore Republican, you will still be fascinated by this movie, mainly because of the acting.

I just couldn’t believe how spot-on Julianne Moore was playing Sarah Palin. While watching the film, I almost thought that HBO had somehow actually casted Sarah Palin. Julianne Moore is going to win a lot of awards for this performance. The entire time while watching, my jaw was dropped, and I very rarely am impressed with an actor. In fact, the last time I was impressed with an acting performance was when Heath Ledger played the Joker in “The Dark Knight.”

But the other performance that really struck me as wow was the performance by Ed Harris. Whenever I see any movie starring Ed Harris it’s usually impossible for me to not think about his performance as Lieutenant Commander John Hummel in the movie “The Rock” starring Nicolas Cage, which is one of my favorite movies of all time.

But Ed Harris nails John McCain, and all of the emotions that I remember feeling while watching that election cycle unfold, came back to me. I remember watching John McCain’s concession speech and think that he’d have made a pretty great President if he just sticked to his ways instead of playing politics. I remember how hard I laughed when I watched Tina Fey portray Sarah Palin on Saturday Night Live, or how embarrassed I was for Sarah Palin when I watched her get interviewed by Katie Couric that ultimately, in my opinion, was the absolute death blow that cost her and McCain any chance at winning the presidential election.

But in terms of the story, which apparently was written by a person who worked on the campaign, you are given a perspective of Sarah Palin that is rarely, if ever portrayed. Instead of Sarah Palin coming off as this sexy and tough politician who can handle any kind of criticism with a wink and a smile, she is portrayed in the film as somebody who is quite sensitive. By the end of the film, she is so upset from the amount of criticism she is taking by the national press, she nearly has a melt down.

The other part of the film that pulled no punches was Sarah Palin’s complete lack of knowledge about world politics. Throughout the film her advisors have her studying flash cars so she can remember the difference between the war in Iraq and the war in Afghanistan. Of course, it’s all Hollywood, but the very thought of a Vice President being seriously considered for election who doesn’t know such basic information rolls your stomach a bit.

The other message of the movie was that the advisors to the campaign realize quickly that Sarah Palin was, although a very polarizing figure, a huge mistake. And while none of them have any doubt that John McCain would make a good president, there are many scenes in the movie where they discuss whether or not they are doing the right thing by doing everything they can to elect a person that they regret bringing into the international political spotlight.

When the movie ended, I literally clapped at the television screen. I was dumbfounded by how well done it was, the level of acting and the level of commitment to the roles and to telling a story that in my opinion, is a story that not many of us Americans want to be reminded of.

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