Hollywood has tackled many a political issue and subsequently, politicians. If you’ve been watching the US closely and are suffering from election fever, why not watch some films on the topic too?
As compiled from The Indian Express, here are five films that are based on American presidents and their lives in office.
Perhaps the best productions on an American politician, Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln stars the now-retired Daniel Day-Lewis as Abraham Lincoln. Day-Lewis, a Brit, plays the titular character with confidence and élan, making it looks easy. The film also humanises Lincoln and we come to know however great a figure he was, and despite all his numerous achievements, he was a human being just trying to do the right thing.
One of 20th century’s most controversial US presidents, Richard Nixon’s career was marred by upheavals and scandals. Oliver Stone’s Nixon stars Anthony Hopkins in the lead. It portrays Nixon as a more complex figure (as opposed to his outright negative image in popular imagination). But the actor does not look anything like Nixon and the film knows it. It makes up for that lack of resemblance by making the character well-written, flawed and ultimately compelling.
Another Oliver Stone directorial, W is about George W Bush’s life and political career. Bush led the US to a disastrous war with Iraq on a flimsy pretext (Iraq was said to possess weapons of mass destruction that were never found). The film, though, once again humanises its lead character and does not excuse him for his deeds. It just contextualises them.
4. ‘The Butler’
If you really want to watch a film about an American president, you will find a lot of those in this one. Lee Daniels’s The Butler is a story told through the perspective of Forest Whitaker’s Cecil Gaines, who serves in the White House for decades and observes the arrival and departure of eight US presidents from Eisenhower to Obama.
Woody Harrelson essays the role of Lyndon B Johnson, who assumed office after John F Kennedy was assassinated. The performance, with Harrelson looking almost unrecognisable, takes some getting used to, due to the comic roles he has done before. But once it settles, the actor is successful and engaging while playing “the accidental president.”
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