Sunday, March 15, 2009


As someone who was 12 years old when Richard Nixon resigned the presidency, it seems that the specter of Watergate has always overshadowed my knowledge of politics. While having been aware of the Frost/Nixon interviews, I can't claim to have had any real knowledge regarding them.

Thus, I found the movie very intriguing. The movie is much more about the struggle to make the interviews happen and the motivations of the players than the actual interviews themselves. Michael Sheen as David Frost and Frank Langella as Richard Nixon both completely inhabit their alter egos. Langella, in particular, is splendid in portraying the pathos and the Greek tragedy hubris of the former president.

The movie did leave us with questions regarding what was historical and what was historical fiction. Did the late night phone call really take place? Did Frost really give Nixon the gift? If so, did Frost understand the irony and was it intentional as it surely would have been if the gift exchange had been reversed? (The proverbial shoe on the other foot.) How much of the final conversation was for dramatic effect? All great fodder for our dinner conversation afterwards.

On a coincidental note, for the second time in a very short time, I sat through a movie thinking that a female lead resembled a female lead in a movie I had just seen but convinced myself it was merely a strong resemblance only to discover later that the actresses were in fact one and the same. Not sure what that's all about.

The January 2009 issue of Smithsonian Magazine has an article penned by James Reston, Jr, one of the key players, which I am looking forward to reading. I purposefully did not do so prior to seeing the movie as I did not want to be forced into the position of being overly analytical while viewing it.

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