March 16, 2009
By Matthew Skala BRONZE, Sandwich, Massachusetts
Matthew Skala BRONZE, Sandwich, Massachusetts
2 articles 0 photos 0 comments

Over the years, numerous films have attempted to capture the true spirit of the Nixon presidency, and most prominently Watergate. According to, over 50 movies and television programs have featured the character of Richard Nixon. The films have ranged from serious dramas such as 'Nixon' from 1995, which featured Anthony Hopkins as the disgraced former president, to more satirical works such as 1999's 'Dick', with Dan Hedaya at the title role. Despite the myriad of attempts, none come as close to capturing the true spirit and mystery surrounding the era as the recent Academy-Award nominated film 'Frost/Nixon.'
Frost/Nixon follows British TV journalist David Frost in his attempt to procure a confession from Nixon, something he feels the American people got cheated out of when Nixon received his pardon from his successor Gerald Ford. The film shows all the behind-the-scenes work that went into getting the interviews. It also delves into the deep emotional lives of both its subjects, Frost and Nixon, which were both exceptionally played by Michael Sheen and Frank Langella respectively. Both actors previously had played the roles on Broadway, and were chosen to reprise them when director Ron Howard became attached to the project. Langella, who received an Oscar nomination for the film, humanized the 37th president. He shows a sign of Nixon rarely seen in film. He provides humor to the film, but also has an ever-present dark side. His quest for money never escaped him in retirement. It is explained that the only reason he would do the interview was for payment. Upon being told he could get $500,000 for the interview, he immediately replied, 'Do you think we could get $550?' Sheen also does a wonderful job as Frost, a TV host who is not taken seriously in his attempt to interview Nixon. Normally limited to talk shows and trivial interviews, he is turned away by every TV network and cannot secure financing from any major companies. He is thus forced to fund the project himself. Along with a group of reporters and journalists, he embarks on a journey nobody had ever been to before. Frost's team of investigators includes Oliver Platt as Bob Zelnick, the executive editor of the historic interviews; Sam Rockwell as James Reston Jr., an energetic young reporter hell-bent on screwing over Nixon; and Rebecca Hall as Caroline Cushing, a young woman whom Frost befriends on an airplane and ultimately winds up dating. Kevin Bacon is also exceptional as Jack Brennan, chief of staff to President Nixon whose personal and professional goal it is to make his boss look as good as possible.
The film, despite some minor historical liberties taken, explains well the situation surrounding Watergate. Using both real clips and recently-shot scenes, the film explains the cover up in enough detail to satisfy viewers, but not too much to be confusing. Its best scenes are the portrayal of the interviews. What begins as smooth sailing for Nixon quickly turns into a roller-coaster ride of excitement for the viewer as Frost's questions become more complex, he becomes more relentless in his search for the answers and Nixon's patience wears thin as he struggles to explain his version of the truth.
The film was well received by a majority of critics and received five Academy Award nominations including best picture, best actor, best director, best editing and best adapted screenplay. Frost/Nixon is a great film for history buffs and even for those too young to remember the day.

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