Monday, May 2, 2011

Some political entertainment on election day

In honour of the elections today in Canada I'm suggesting a few politically themed films that I think you'll enjoy. None of these choices are hard hitting critiques of modern politics, rather they are mostly comedic in nature with perhaps some thinly veiled criticism mixed in...

Election (1999) - Reese Witherspoon and Matthew Broderick star in this clever satire about politics based on the 1998 titular novel. The plot follows a three way school election between Witherspoon, co-star Chris Klein and a third student which is adjudicated by Matthew Broderick's character, a popular civics/history teacher. But things get ugly when Broderick gets in the way of Witherspoon's political career.

While not a box office hit, the film remains entertaining while examining the fundamentals of whether we will ever be any more or less than we were in high school.

Primary Colors (1998) - John Travolta, Kathy Bates and Emma Thompson star in this fictionalized tale (which is loosely based on the Clinton campaign). The film follows Travolta's Governor Jack Stanton, the governor of a southern state, as he works his way through the ranks to campaign for the presidency.

The film itself was not terribly well received (though it was nominated for an Oscar for best adapted screenplay) but it is Bates' performance which I find most riveting in this film. She was nominated for an Oscar for best supporting actress for the role and while some called it over-the-top, I found it to be interesting and certainly worth talking about.

Goodbye Lenin! (2003) - A film about the year leading up the unification of Berlin, told from the point of view of an East German boy who lives with his mother and sister. It follows Alex's struggle to define himself in a turbulent and polarized city and to make his way while the world literally falls apart around him.

This film is actually one that's on my list of "things to see" and which I'm going to commit to watching in honour of my failing belief in the power of my political freedoms... (the results are slowly trickling in as I finish up this post).

Enjoy if you decide to participate and let us know some of your favourite political films!


  1. Election is a great choice, definitely the only Reese Witherspoon movie that deserves multiple viewings. I think it helps that she plays such an unlikable character.

    I saw Primary Colors for the first time a few months ago. Politics have changed so much since Bill Clinton was president and even social media has changed the political landscape.

    I think my favourite political movie would be The Contender, which introduced me to the amazing talents of Joan Allen (remember when I "coerced" you into seeing Death Race?!).

    I am sad we have moved on from the royal wedding to this pathetic election. I had considered picking Roman Holiday as my Retro Re-watch in honour of the royal nuptials.

  2. Roman Holiday! Oh for some reason that movie title always reminds me of the Moon-Spinners (starring Hailey Mills of the original Parent Trap). Gosh I loved that movie.