In the past week I have seen three political/historical movies of varying levels of “enjoyability.” Most interesting was how they did not at all match my expectations.
I first viewed George Clooney’s new World War II vehicle, The Monuments Men. I had high hopes for this movie, having been interested in the subject (the return of artwork stolen by the Nazis to its rightful owners) for many years. I have seen many documentaries on this theme, perhaps too many, as the first half of the film I noticed historical inaccuracy after historical inaccuracy. I also didn’t realize going in that the movie is a comedy. It is. Sort of. Regardless, halfway through the film I put all this aside and just enjoyed the movie as a story, and I was in fact pleased by the end. At least a B plus (marks off for my being too excited walking in).
At the other end of the spectrum is Lee Daniels’ The Butler, a film I expected to hate and refused to see in the theatre, but thoroughly enjoyed at home on DVD. Unlike The Monuments Men, which is probably 50% fiction and 50% fact, The Butler is 99% fiction. No matter. It’s a great story, and is not as soppy and politically correct as I feared. Fondly likened to a black version of Forrest Gump, I recommend it strongly.
And finally there is Bill Murray’s Hyde Park on Hudson, a “movie” about Franklin Roosevelt’s relationship with his cousin Daisy and the king of England (the relationships are in no way similar). I’d say this one is about 90% fiction, but that implies that there is any kind of story here at all. There isn’t. And this was one of the worst movies I’d ever seen. It makes Broken Flowers look like Casablanca and Ghostbusters look like Citizen Kane. Though I suppose the less said the better. Just… don’t. That is all.