Film Review: ‘LBJ’ is Important American History Brought to Light

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CHICAGO – The circumstances surrounding the John F. Kennedy assassination on November 22nd, 1963, put a man into the presidential spotlight who never thought he would get there… Lyndon Baines Johnson. The story of that strange time and the man who “would be king” is told in ‘LBJ.’

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 4.5/5.0
Rating: 4.5/5.0

Woody Harrelson portrays the title character in a surprising piece of casting, but he delivers Johnson so humanely and historically that by the end he is most appropriate for the role. Director Rob Reiner – working from a script by Joey Hartstone – structures the film through the filter of his fascination for Washington, D.C. shown in “A Few Good Men”… that justice can prevail if the right person is there at the right time. In his era, Johnson was rightly vilified in his escalation of the Vietnam War, but in other areas of legislation (the Civil Rights Act, Medicare, Medicaid, the anti-poverty Great Society) LBJ sought to uplift the underclass in this country, based on an empathy that is smartly expressed in the film. The assassination of JFK was a shocking act, and it was Johnson in the aftermath who had to reset the path of a nation.

The date was November 22nd, 1963, in Dallas, Texas. President John F. Kennedy (Jeffrey Donovan) is touring the battleground state of Texas in anticipation of his 1964 re-election campaign, with his Vice President and Texas native Lyndon B. Johnson (Woody Harrelson) also on the trip. As the open-air motorcade parades through Dallas, there are flashbacks to Johnson’s career, including his clashes with Attorney General Bobby Kennedy (Richard Stahl-David).

Before joining the JFK administration, Johnson as a Senator was the most powerful compromiser in Congress, and had the foresight to realize that African American Civil Rights was ready to be legislated, despite opposition from Southern Senators like Richard Russell (Richard Jenkins). The shots ring out in Dallas, President Kennedy is killed, and it is Lyndon Johnson that has to calm an anxious nation.

LBJ” opens everywhere on November 3rd. Featuring Woody Harrelson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Richard Jenkins, Bill Pullman, Jeffrey Donovan and Michael Stahl-David. Written by Joey Hartsone. Directed by Rob Reiner. Rated “R”

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “LBJ

LBJ1
Woody Harrelson is the Title Character in ‘LBJ
Photo credit: Electric Entertainment

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “LBJ

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