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Customer Review

53 of 66 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Anchored, May 7, 2012
This review is from: Game Change (DVD)
More than anything, "Game Change" is a character study; the character in this case being Sarah Palin. The film portrays her as a complicated, powerful woman who was suddenly thrust into the international political spotlight, then forced to deal with all of the pressure, scrutiny, adoration, criticism, and condemnation that followed.

"Game Change" will probably not please many people, at least from a political point of view. People who despise Sarah Palin will probably think the film is too sympathetic towards her, as she is portrayed as a devoted mother and wife, as a charismatic public figure with the ability to connect with people in a way that few politicians do, and as a person genuinely committed to her Christian faith. At the same time, those who love Sarah Palin will probably think the film portrays her too harshly, showing her as not terribly intelligent, combative, naive, and narcissistic. In a way, the film's greatest strength is also its weakness - it portrays a polarizing figure as a complex, real human being.

All character-driven films that succeed have to be cast with excellent actors, and Julianne Moore's exceptional, multi-faceted performance completely anchors the film. Moore's performance was especially critical in this case, because aside from her performance as Palin, there is not much else of interest. Woody Harrelson gives a strong supporting performance as Steve Schmidt, the advisor who first champions Palin as John McCain's running mate and then comes to regret it, but the character is never really fully fleshed out. And Ed Harris, a fine actor, is rather wasted playing John McCain. The character is portrayed as a benevolent, paternal figure, far from the volatile loose cannon he is rumored to be in real life. Palin's family are mostly relegated to being supportive and loving, and the drama of daughter Bristol's pregnancy is mostly glossed over.

Aside from being a character study, the film does succeed in making one strong, good point about modern politics: that today's politicians are required to be charismatic and telegenic; more like film stars than intelligent, thoughtful, experienced public servants. Palin was chosen mostly due to her attractiveness, charisma, and her gender (a calculated maneuver to lure female voters). And the film also suggests that President Obama was chosen by the American people for mostly the same reasons.
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Showing 1-10 of 12 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jun 18, 2012, 11:07:11 AM PDT
Brian Niven says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 18, 2012, 11:54:14 AM PDT
Douglas King says:
I have no idea what it is that you're trying to say.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 24, 2012, 4:13:25 PM PDT
Brian Niven says:
You say this:

And the film also suggests that President Obama was chosen by the American people for mostly the same reasons.

But this is not really correct as Schmidt says Obama was a constitutional law professor and palin could not name one supreme court case. If the movie was like that why was it not about Obama? Obama is far more interesting than Palin could ever hope to be and he won the election. So if the movie was saying Obama was chosesn for charisma why not make the movie about that? But it is not about that it is about how Stupid Palin is.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 24, 2012, 5:45:34 PM PDT
Douglas King says:
I'm sure there will be a movie about Obama at some point. It's hard to make a movie about a sitting president; to really make the film it would require some perspective about the legacy of his presidency, and that won't be possible until he's out of office. Sarah Palin's role in the 2008 election, and her affect on the culture at the time, is in the past. Although the film did not portray her as terribly intelligent, I really thought the film was quite sympathetic toward her in a lot of ways. Like I say in my review, I don't think this film will please many people, since those who love Sarah Palin will think the film is too harsh and those who can't stand her will probably think it's not harsh enough. Since I don't have very strong feelings toward her either way, maybe I was able to appreciate the film for the character study it is.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 24, 2012, 11:16:54 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 24, 2012, 11:18:41 PM PDT
Brian Niven says:
I don't really agree because the Obama movie would have been about the campaign that he won which is over. No need to wait for Obama to be out of the presidency when the campaign is its own isloated thing that would end with him winning. The campaign story is over. Primary colors was about clinton and everyone knew it was about clinton. his name just wasn't used but it was clinton and there was no dispute and everyone involved in making the movie said it is all about clinton and that was it. It was released early 98 but was being written and cast and put together during clinton's first term. For George W bush there was a comedy central sitcom and he was played in movies on showtime. A movie could be made about Obama and there could be TV shows but it is not being done. Instead there is ridiculous game change about Palin that uses her name and most of the behind the scenes stuff is completely false.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 14, 2012, 5:46:18 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 14, 2012, 5:48:37 AM PDT
Douglas, excellent review! One thing, you say in your comment that it's hard to make a movie about a sitting president. Well, Oliver Stone did it with "W" while Bush was still in office. Just saying. :>)

Randall Brooks
(author, "The Two Worlds of the Mind",
"Conversations At The Party",
and "Perfect Strangers")

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 17, 2012, 2:05:12 PM PDT
Douglas King says:
True. But I said it was hard to do, not impossible, and didn't suggest no one ever did it. Although I never saw "W," it came out at the very end of GWB's second term, and by then his legacy was already pretty much set in place.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 26, 2013, 9:58:04 PM PST
B. Prince says:
Obama is certainly a more important figure in history. I voted for him. I find Palin infinitely entertaining in a way that Obama is not. The absurdity of someone that ignorant, matriarch to a hot mess of a family, being chosen to be on the ticket of a political party that itself has turned into a bad clown show is too hard to not watch.

Posted on Jan 26, 2013, 10:03:07 PM PST
B. Prince says:
You raise a good point about the portrayal of John McCain as a benevolent figure when he is known to be a volatile loose canon. I was so focused on the Palin experience I missed that. Count me as someone who is disgusted with Sarah Palin and you are correct, I was disappointed that she was portrayed as a devoted wife and mother. There is enough evidence that she was neither a devoted wife or mother although to be fair the family probably did shine it on when other people were around. The proof of her failure as a mother is certainly in the pudding.

Posted on Feb 1, 2013, 12:07:20 PM PST
Douglas King--Of John McCain; You did not say 'known' to be a volatile loose cannon, you instead used the word 'rumored'. These two words are vastly different in their intention. This is an example of why I thought that you did an excellent job in keeping this review objective and not subjective to an agenda or an opinion. That, in itself, would be so very difficult regarding the review of a political work. Weighing the pro's and con's; you did a stand-out job in being fair and not being biased with your opinion to further on what the movie 'may' intend to be.
Very nice wording and insight on a difficult movie to review. Thank you, Sheryl
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