One of the reasons I reckon my kid is remarkable is that I can take her, at age 13, with me to see Frost/Nixon
(Rolling Stone review here
), and we can both be sitting on the edge of our respective seats by the end, clutching one another in an attempt to cope with the dramatic tension. This movie has few, if any, surprises (I am just old enough to remember the interviews happening, and certainly to have read about
them many times). But the acting is unbeLIEVable, and the writing and directing absolutely riveting. I definitely recommend seeing it. Bring all the politics-junkies in your family, so you have someone to hang onto during the last half hour or so. (Addendum: one of the trailers was for Milk
, about the life and death and ramifications thereof of San Francisco Board of Supervisors member Harvey Milk
. Margaret said, "I'd really like to see that." So we probably will. My kid the politics and civil-rights geek.)
I am, by the standards of my hometown (Washington, DC), virtually apolitical. But I've realized over the years that what passes for apolitical in DC is, in fact, considered politically obsessed elsewhere. It's something we acquire through drinking the tap water or something. Moreover, I studied politics at the bachelor's and master's level. However, my most comprehensive political education came as a result of the total immersion I had into the state-level parliamentary system by which New South Wales is governed. Once you've spent a few years trying to negotiate the corridors of Byzantium (for such is New South Wales, and I'm being charitable), politics is burned into your soul. Not only that, but you acquire a deep appreciation for and unease about the degree to which individual personalities affect larger policies. I'm sure DC friends who have worked on the Hill, or otherwise closer to the actual Great Ones than I did during my time there, will say they found the same thing.
For the writer of spec-fic this is a fabulous opportunity. Great characters plus great plot makes great stories, and it comes in real handy that world-altering politics comes down to the same formula. It means we can use the adventures and insights and adversities of individual characters to build stories of great resonance that still interest readers.
Sidebar: I don't watch much TV at all, and certainly not crime dramas or legal dramas or any of that stuff. So the last thing I remember seeing Frank Langella (who plays Nixon) in was the Broadway production of Dracula
, with those fabulous sets by Edward Gorey
. Which, I notice, was playing at roughly the same time the Frost/Nixon interviews were taking place. Those wacky 70s!