Primary Colors (1998)


Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBBB

France/United Kingdom/Germany/USA/Japan, 1998.   , , , , , , , , .   Screenplay by , based on the novel by .   Cinematography by .   Produced by .   Music by .   Production Design by .   Costume Design by , .   Film Editing by .   

Based on the tell-all book by “Anonymous” (actually Joe Klein), Elaine May’s excellent script fictionalizes the Clintons’ primary race towards the Oval Office. Presidential candidate Jack Stanton (John Travolta) is a womanizing manipulator who is still capable of being a great leader and worthy of admiration no matter what his personal faults, while Emma Thompson is compelling as the woman everyone feels runs the whole show because is just the only one on the team with a conscience; while Jack eases his way through everything with characteristic aplomb, Thompson’s Susan Stanton is constantly keeping her eye on the ball, taking Jack’s sins upon herself and eventually suffering for them. is brilliant as the new political aide brought on to the campaign, through whom we view the whole story, and Kathy Bates is sheer delight as the dirty-mouthed moral dust-buster with a more sensitive heart than at first it seems. Mike Nichols’ direction is perfect, and the film should be regarded in the future as an undeniable classic.

Academy Award Nominations:  Best Supporting Actress (Kathy Bates); Best Adapted Screenplay

European Film Award Nomination:  Outstanding European Achievement in World Cinema (Emma Thompson)

Golden Globe Award Nominations:  Best Actor-Musical/Comedy (John Travolta); Best Supporting Actress (Kathy Bates)

Screen Actors Guild Award:  Best Supporting Actress (Kathy Bates)

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