Sunday, May 22, 2016

Movie Review: All the Way

Directly following John F. Kennedy's assassination, Lyndon B. Johnson was sworn into office. Very shortly after his ascendancy to the highest land in the office LBJ began the push for the Civil Rights Act. Bryan Cranston does an amazing job portraying the 36th President of the United States as he struggles with racist Senators in the South filibustering the Civil Rights Act using lofty words like "freedom", "liberty", and "States Rights".

It's remarkable how similar the rhetoric of these men sounds to the current Republican party though they have moved their target to other minorities in this nation. Cranston lays on the thick Southern accent of Johnson and negotiates with these Senators including his former mentor Senator Richard Russell, played by the regal Frank Langella. I haven't studied up on my history but found the negotiating and politics quite interesting and believe this story needs to be reviewed every few years. 

Johnson also had to negotiate with those demanding the basic rights of human beings and the leader Martin Luther King Jr., played by Anthony Mackie. King faced all sorts of opposition including being spied on by the FBI led by J. Edgar Hoover. Mackie does a great job as the leader as he first pushes for the Civil Rights Act and then demands votes in the Democratic National Convention in Atlantic City. 

This story deals with the nitty-gritty of political maneuvering the story might seem boring if it were not so historically significant. I also think this story reflects current fights going on in Congress. I can only hope that the same shameful history will lead to those on the wrong side being outvoted once again. This story is as important now as it was back then, it is ridiculous how some people can forget history.

Led by Cranston, all of the acting was top notch. Cranston performed this play on stage before it was adapted into a film but he is now supported by great actors like Mackie, Melissa Leo as Mrs. Johnson, Langella, Bradley Whitford as Hubert Humphrey, and Stephen Root as J. Edgar Hoover. HBO has presented a great film that would have played well in the theater but I'm glad I was able to catch it.  

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