Game Change 2012 ★★½

HBO have a good track record of producing political drama. The TV movie, Recount, about the Florida electoral recounts during the 2000 elections was gripping television so I was intrigued to see how they would tackle the McCain-Palin campaign of 2008. Sadly, Game Change can’t match their earlier efforts with some of the problems coming from the film’s execution and some from the audience’s prior knowledge.

It is a handsomely produced film with strong performances across the board and a clever blending of fact and fiction. Julianne Moore’s uncanny portrayal of Pailin is naturally getting the headlines but it is Woody Harrelson as the campaign strategist that really steals the film. My issues with the film are that Palin is an easy target for this type of drama. It rightly attacks her and highlights her many, many failings but the film never quite goes deep enough in finding the person behind the frightening image. The fact the film is rather soapy in tone certainly doesn’t help make it a serious political drama either.

Unlike the behind the scenes dramas surrounding the Florida reelections, the McCain-Palin campaign was played out in the public. It means that, if you have a vague interest in politics, then there is little in this film that will come as much of a revelation. Despite this the film is still engaging throughout; it may offer very little sustenance but it is glossy and fun.

5 Comments

  • You know, I don't disagree with anything you said, but I found it pleasantly entertaining.

    I haven't seen Recount and didn't have the highest expectations for this, but Harrelson and Moore were so amazing and thought the whole thing rolled along at a great pace (and dug the soapy-ness).

    So to sum up - I agree with you and typed all of this for no real reason other than the fact I rated it slightly higher on my star scale, which curves higher than yours anyway.

  • I agree with pretty much everything you wrote. I gave it a poor rating but in spite of it not being so great, I did enjoy actually watching it.

  • C'mon!

  • I agree as well. I thought the last forty minutes or so it really lost it's footing and made me not like it as much as I hoped I would but I do think it was highly entertaining.

  • I'm at odds with the portrayal of Palin. I don't think the film-makers could decide whether to humanize her, to really show that this was really someone with good intentions poorly thrust into this unimaginably stressful situation, someone who really wasn't meant to be put on the national stage of politics like she was and understandably breaking down under the pressure, or the egotistical-maneuvering maniac that is a popular characterization of her. And I don't think they left that question in the air on purpose, it really seems that at times the film just chooses one version over the other to suit its needs. But yeah, entertaining fluff, enjoyable performances from all involved.

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