Movie Review: Game Change

Game ChangeI waited a long time for this movie to be available after missing it at the box office. It finally came out at Blockbuster as a rental.

It portrays the fascinating story of the McCain campaign in 2008, when McCain (Ed Harris) had won the Republican nomination under Steve Schmidt’s (Woody Harrelson) campaign management. When it was time to find a running mate, they came across Sarah Palin (Julianne Moore) at the last minute. They wanted to make a difference, to change the game.

And change the game they did.

As the saying goes, the rest is history.

I personally enjoyed watching this movie a lot. I remember that I was a probable McCain voter in 2008. I had read his biography, I respected his war record, I liked his image as a maverick, and I felt he had character. Then he picked Palin. It made me question his judgment and quickly I became an Obama voter. I don’t know how many other Americans turned against McCain on that day or in those weeks. I think that decision might have cost him the presidency.

I like Steve Schmidt today and I enjoy his insight on MSNBC as a commentator. Woody Harrelson does an excellent job playing Steve. Ed Harris does not just play McCain, he seems to become McCain. And Julianna Moore does a great Palin, believable, plausible, without the parody that Tina Fey would have inevitably brought to the role.

I enjoyed getting glimpses behind the scenes of a major national campaign. Of course, it’s a movie, and I will never know how real the portrayals are. But if Palin was anywhere near as unprepared for the vice presidency as she looks like she was in this movie, the country did a great thing by not electing the 72-year-old John McCain. The movie spotlights Palin’s lack of understanding of the principles of our own government in the United States and basic concepts of history and current foreign affairs. She looks like she was way, way, way in over her head.

Any viewer neutral about Palin will get interesting insight and good entertainment out of this movie. Palin supporters will decry it as unfair treatment of a popular heroine and possibly slander.

Game Change is well-acted entertainment, based on a turbulent episode in our nation’s history.

Rating ** 1/2

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