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by Alison Willmore
March 10, 2012 7:31 PM
4 Comments
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'Game Change': The Pain and Glory of Sarah Palin

Julianne Moore as Sarah Palin in 'Game Change' Phillip V. Caruso/HBO

The HBO film "Game Change," airing tonight, does an impressive job of creating sympathy for Sarah Palin in its portrayal of the 2008 Republican presidential campaign. It presents her VP run as a slow-motion car crash that represents what's wrong with our electoral process. The question is: Who's looking for such a thing?

Palin's a political Rorschach blot, such a divisive figure that when her supporters and detractors discuss her, it's easy to believe they're talking about two entirely separate people. The idea that a dialogue could take place or that there's a neutral position to take seems inconceivable.

The objections to "Game Change" and its accuracy from Palin's camp feel reflexive.

From Palin's camp, the objections to "Game Change" and its accuracy feel reflexive and not terribly concerned with the content; if something isn't obviously on her side, it's presumed it must be against her. And the two films that have been made about Palin so far, both of them nonfiction, do have obvious points of view. Nick Broomfield's doc, "Sarah Palin: You Betcha!" dug into the dark crannies of Palin's career to present a portrait of the former governor of Alaska as frighteningly vindictive; Stephen K. Bannon's "The Undefeated" was an 90-minute campaign ad that positioned Palin as a new hope and a fresh political voice who unfairly maligned by the press.

Julianne Moore, Woody Harrelson Phillip V. Caruso/HBO

"Game Change," which was directed by Jay Roach and written by Danny Strong, has no such clear agenda -- though it's likely that most of those who made it, and who will watch it, are no fans of its subject. It presents Palin, as eerily embodied by Julianne Moore, as a politician who's had great success and is very comfortable on a state level; we first see her at the state fair with her children, chatting with constituents, her populism effortless and no act. But on the national level, she's shown to be entirely out of her depth, appallingly ignorant of foreign policy and unprepared to deal with the stress of the campaign.

It's not an attack on Palin, but it's not flattering, and there's an anger underlying many of the scenes in which advisors teach her about the basics of international events while she scribbles on notecards. She's unprepared, but "Game Change" makes the convincing case that this isn't her fault and that she took some undeserved abuse.

However, watching the film you wish it actually expressed the frustration that fuels it: You should know what you're talking about when you run for the second-highest political position in the country. You should be educated about matters here and abroad and always be learning more. That "Game Change" attempts to be evenhanded is admirable, but it also feels needlessly restrained. Shouldn't this be angry?

4 Comments

  • Laidlikespitzer | March 12, 2012 12:40 AMReply

    I found "Game Change" very satisfying. I think the writer Danny Strong wanted to trash her but I feel the director Jay Roach had to stay on her side for the picture to work. As a filmmaker watching it, I felt it was like a tug of war between the writers vision and directors vision. But the director made the correct choice because the media was so bias she was an obvious underdog. When you have an underdog like that all the convictions she possessed however traditional and conservative just fed into the drama of her underdog status. I voted democrat but found myself rooting for the Republicans toward the end the film. For that reason this picture succeeded because it showed the point of view no news station could ever get their head around. At the end I even wanted her to be allowed to make that speech she came up with spur of the moment but campaign guy Steve nixed it. Palin's character was electrifying and honestly I felt like the advisors who surrounded her played to her weaknesses too much rather than her strengths and it sort of screwed everything up. I have witnessed actors being misdirected and it's very frustrating, in an odd way this is what the films story was about: the campaign advisors misdirecting their star actor. Yes I know she didn't know jack shit but come on, she is a natural born leader. The truth is with the media ripping every candidate apart I highly doubt the integrity of anyone to get elected who isn't a complete "actor". Lets face it, to be an effective President you must lie, cheat, steal and when you're getting called out on every affair and every blow job, it just sucks. But this is just the feminization of this country, it's why we will have a female president and it's unfortunately will be for all the wrong reasons. It will be because of all the evil men and their evil dicks. In my opinion, we need the remasculinization of American society. Maybe it can be Obama's second term, I have faith it can.
    Sincerely,
    Laid-Like-Spitzer

  • LeonRaymond | March 11, 2012 11:15 AMReply

    What I really was hoping for was to finally reveal that the Republican Party and Sarah Palin to show their unison with the Klu Klux Klan!

  • katy | March 11, 2012 9:44 AMReply

    There has been thousands of single members online and waiting for you。 maybe you will like it.=_=
    Come in and check out the photo galleries.—-- TallLoving.c/ 0/ m--- Keep looking for it all but be happy .

  • Sarah | March 10, 2012 11:36 PMReply

    Soooo, in conclusion, you were hoping the filmmakers would turn the film into a liberal rant that paints a more overtly negative picture of this campaign and perhaps the Republican establishment as a whole?