(out of 5)

Talk show host David Frost has had success in Britain and Australia but has yet to corner the American market, making it that much more insane an idea when he decides to pack up his crew, head to California and interview American past president Richard Nixon after having briefly glimpsed his resignation on television. Frost () is seen as a soft-news bon vivant with no credibility, putting Nixon () completely at ease with the idea of being interviewed by someone he doesn’t see as a “worthy adversary”. In this exciting adaptation of Peter Morgan’s play (the writer adapts it to the screen himself), we see the events leading up to the interview followed by the work itself, which doesn’t seem to be going well in the initial days:  Frost is having trouble putting together the funding even after shooting has begun, and he’s been playing far too easy with Tricky Dick and letting the president, who resigned in shame and disgrace after the Watergate scandal, come off a hero. Superb performances really make this one leap off the screen, a film that doesn’t seem to be based on a play and yet thoroughly maintains the integrity of the original piece. It’s a good thing the writing is this good, actually, since director Ron Howard is skilled at guiding actors and filming even the most boring events (a two-handed conversation in a living room) with a lot of pizzazz (terrific editing keeps it bouncing the whole time), but is obviously not up to the intelligence of the material. He short-hands political information as if he were making a junior-high information film, but again Morgan’s sharp writing keeps it smart and integral the whole time. Langella and Sheen are simply outstanding, while  steals scenes outright as a member of the team preparing the interviews. The film is heavily political and, most surprisingly, very moving, a hell of a lot better than Oliver Stone’s attempt to encapsulate a similar theme ever could have been.

USA/United Kingdom/France, 2008

Directed by

Screenplay by , based on his play

Cinematography by

Produced by , , ,

Music by

Production Design by

Costume Design by

Film Editing by , ,

Cast Tags:  , , , , , ,, , , , , ,, , , , , ,, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Academy Award Nominations
Best Actor in a Leading Role (Frank Langella as “Richard Nixon”)
Best Directing (Ron Howard)
Best Film Editing (Mike Hill, Dan Hanley)
Best Picture (Brian Grazer, Ron Howard, Eric Fellner, producers)
Best Writing (Adapted Screenplay) (Peter Morgan)

Golden Globe Award Nominations
Best Motion Picture-Drama
Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture-Drama (Frank Langella)
Best Director (Ron Howard)
Best Screenplay (Peter Morgan)
Best Original Score-Motion Picture (Hans Zimmer)

National Board Of Review Award
Top Ten Films

Screen Actors Guild Award Nominations
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role (Frank Langella)
Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture

Writers Guild Award Nomination
Best Adapted Screenplay

Directors Guild Award Nomination
Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures (Ron Howard)

British Academy Award Nominations
Best Film
Best Leading Actor (Frank Langella)
Best Screenplay – Adapted
Best Editing
Best Make Up & Hair
David Lean Award for Direction (Ron Howard)

Toronto Film Critics Award Nomination
Best Screenplay

Boston Film Critics Award Nomination
Best Actor (Frank Langella)

Chicago Film Critics Award Nominations
Best Actor (Frank Langella)
Best Screenplay, Adapted



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