Friday, November 3, 2017

LBJ Movie Review

Woody Harrelson stars in LBJ

Endless Compromise

Rotten Tomatoes Plot: After powerful Senate Majority Leader Lyndon Johnson (Woody Harrelson) loses the 1960 Democratic presidential nomination to Senator John F. Kennedy (Jeffrey Donovan), he agrees to be his young rival's running mate. But once they win the election, despite his extensive legislative experience and shrewd political instincts, Johnson finds himself sidelined in the role of vice president. That all changes on November 22, 1963, when Kennedy is assassinated and Johnson, with his devoted wife Lady Bird (Jennifer Jason Leigh) by his side, is suddenly thrust into the presidency. As the nation mourns, Johnson must contend with longtime adversary Attorney General Bobby Kennedy (Michael Stahl-David) and one-time mentor Georgia Senator Richard Russell (Richard Jenkins) as he seeks to honor JFK's legacy by championing the historic Civil Rights Act of 1964. Directed by Rob Reiner.

It's impossible to tell the (full) story of Lyndon Baines Johnson in only 97 minutes; but Reiner's LBJ manages to entertain, regardless of what it omits (colorful Senate career, Vietnam, etc.) Harrelson's prosthetic-assisted resemblance is equal parts captivating and startling, although he's a noticeable six inches shorter. Woody carries the entire movie on his sturdy 5'10 frame, capturing almost every other LBJ nuance to near perfection... and with panache. If the rest of the cast and crew were even half as good, Harrelson might have a shot at an award or two. As is, lots of fun (and never boring.)

Grade: B-