On paper, that’s sound advice. Film taste is subjective, and it’s wonderful that two critics can watch the same movie and emerge with wildly different views. Neither is wrong, and audiences can gravitate toward those who best reflect their tastes and points of view.
But critics too often leave themselves exposed to legitimate criticism for reasons other than the quality of a particular script or performance. Never has this been more the case than with HBO’s “Game Change.”
The film, which debuted Saturday night on HBO, depicts Sarah Palin’s rise from Alaskan governor to the GOP’s best hope in the 2008 presidential election. The film was made by liberals for a liberal television network and stars a galaxy of liberal actors. Julianne Moore’s Sarah Palin is depicted as cruel, power hungry, selfish and impossibly dense. She throws a cell phone in disgust, sleeps in the fetal position after a hard day and has several campaign staffers questioning her mental stability. She frequently slips into catatonic states while her handlers try to gently teach her what she needs to know for the campaign. Her grasp of geopolitics is akin to a wide-eyed second-grader. The film packages all of Palin’s public gaffes into a tidy two-hour format while inventing brand new ones to smear her public record.
Had Sen. Barack Obama’s campaign been given the film back in 2008 they might have rejected it for being too cruel.
It’s that toxic.
And these aren’t opinions about acting, dialogue, direction or tone. They’re facts. So, how have film scribes weighed in on the movie?
“Is ‘Game Change’ Fair to Sarah Palin? You Betcha’
LA Times :
‘The overall atmosphere of the film is surprisingly kind to all, much more fatalistic than hypercritical and certainly not derisive’
“‘Game Change’ with Julianne Moore doesn’t flatter Sarah Palin, but its goal isn’t to skewer her.”
There’s a scene midway in this movie where Palin is getting prepped by Schmidt and his team, as though she’s a kid with a learning disability.A synth tracks in a long, low, minor key as the camera plays across her face: Eyes clouded, mouth drooping, face sullen, Palin looks lost and alone.
A scene meant to ridicule? Or elicit pity? Neither: A scene designed to humanize. There are many throughout this film.
This is a sharp-edged but not unsympathetic portrait of a flawed heroine, colored more in pity than in admiration.
The same review later states of the 2011 documentary ” The Undefeated”
“The Undefeated” is a staggering work of bombast and overstatement, the closest thing in the United States to the campaign biographies of the newly elected Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin.
But … but what about the august Associated Press? Surely the wire service would be able to process the obvious.
“The film doesn’t question Palin’s worthiness as a candidate so much as the cynical strategy for choosing her: The campaign needs a rock star to compete with the electrifying Democratic hopeful, Barack Obama.”
Read more here.
A movie depicting a political candidate as mentally unstable, profoundly dumb and egomaniacal to the nth degree isn’t questioning his or her “worthiness as a candidate.”
It’s simple. The aforementioned critics have such a deep-seated hostility toward the real Palin they simply couldn’t judge the film in a sober fashion.
We already know the mainstream press is hopelessly, clinically biased to liberal causes. The same, alas, is certainly true of those covering the arts. The general public’s trust in the mainstream media is shrinking, and the hopelessly unfair “Game Change” reviews will hasten that erosion.