HBO’s Game Change, about the rise and fall of America’s most controversial vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin, premiered on Saturday, and just about everyone had something to say. This new docudrama isn’t a continuation of the Tina Fey skits we saw during the 2008 presidential election on “Saturday Night Live“. It also isn’t an anti-Palin propaganda piece, though some conservatives may think it is. Based on the reviews we’ve garnered for you below, everyone seems to agree that Game Change has spectacular acting. Could Julianne Moore score an Emmy for her portrayal of the former governor?
And make no mistake, Moore OWNS this film. But not in the way you’d have expected. Sure, any actress tasked with portraying a lightning rod like Palin is going to get a lot of scrutiny and consideration… But Moore hits the deep fissures of fear and mortal terror, emotional overload and, ultimately, unbridled narcissism expertly — at times, profoundly. It’s one of her finest performances.
Julianne Moore deserves an Emmy for her role as Sarah Palin. There’s no doubt about it, SHE is the real deal. Moore has all the mannerisms and down home folksiness that is Sarah Palin down pat. This is not just mere mimicry, Moore embodies and inhabits Palin in her role.
As sympathetically played by Ed Harris, McCain comes off as an at-least decent man whose great mistake was giving into the stupidity of our election cycles by choosing an unproven “star” rather than a more qualified veep prospect. Which feels pretty accurate.
[Game Change is] not about the rightness or wrongness of the Democratic or Republican platforms, or about any specific policy advanced by any candidate. It’s about how the already insane intensity of the 24-hour news cycle got cranked up by the debut of YouTube, which gave average citizens the chance to watch Palin make an ass of herself in interviews on Good Morning America or Today, or Tina Fey mock Palin’s “Yah, you betcha!” density on Saturday Night Live, then watch those same clips over and over and over on demand, and send them to friends so that they can watch them endlessly, too. And it’s about how Obama’s team used these cultural facts to its candidate’s advantage while McCain’s team cynically misunderstood them..
My problem with the film is that it’s all surface. It’s Moore doing a Sarah Palin impression — maybe not as caricatured as Tina Fey, but not terribly far off — as opposed to giving an actual performance. Neither Moore’s acting nor Strong’s script make any real attempt to understand who this woman was before she moved into this huge spotlight and how (or if) she changed as a result of the attention. I came out of “Game Change” feeling I didn’t know her any better than I did four years ago just watching the real Palin on the news.
HBO’s message is simple: you’re either with the cool, smart, classy, sophisticated kids who stand against Palin, or you’re with The Mob, the rubes, the snake handlers, the shit-kickers… Now that I’ve actually had a chance to screen HBO’s “Game Change,” I can tell you without any hesitation that if you’ve seen the trailer, you’ve seen the movie.
What did you think of Game Change?