Saturday Night at the Movies: Frost/Nixon (2008)

(A Nixon related film two weeks in a row, you ask? Well, this was a special case. The library has had this one for several weeks, and I had it reserved, but as so often happens, to me at least, with new acquisitions, the person that had it before me kept it for days after it was overdue.)

The story is the behind the scenes and actual interview of Richard M. Nixon by British talk show host David Frost. The actual interviews portion is only the latter half of the movie. The first part deals with Frost's attempts to get Nixon to agree to an interview and the efforts he made to get it financed and produced. The film was nominated for several Academy Awards including Best Picture.

As for the movie itself, it was a pretty good one, but in my opinion it does have a few flaws, aside from a couple of historical innacuracies (which are to be expected in dramatic performances. it's not a history class, after all.) First, I found some of the scenes to be rather drawn out, without much coming to spur on the plot, except to establish character. I also did not like Sam Rockwell in the role of Reston. I don't know whether Reston was portrayed accurately or not, but Rockwell's performance came off as being rather stereotypical Nixon-baiting conspiracy freakish.

Frank Langella's portrayal of Richard Nixon is not the best I have ever seen. Anthony Hopkins' portrayal in Oliver Stone's Nixon (1995) was better, but both were up for the Best actor award in their respective portrayals. Both Langella and Michael Sheen (as David Frost) had previous experience doing the roles on Broadway. Personally I think Sheen's performance was better as far as the film goes, but it was not him who got the Academy nom.

All in all, this is worth a couple of hours of time though, and i wasn't totally disappointed (although I do wish Ron Howard would go back to making comedies. I miss the early style like Splash, Cocoon, and even Night Shift.)

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