Watching The American President, I felt respect for the craft that went into it: the flawless re-creation of the physical world of the White House, the smart and accurate dialogue, the manipulation of the love story to tug our heartstrings.
This is a well crafted motion picture from beginning to end. You can feel yourself going through time to a simpler time. The cast and the acting that they do is perfect from top to bottom if there if a bottom. This movie is in my top ten along with Casablanca and Citizen Kane. Try this movie and I promise that you will not be disappointed.
Rob Reiner & Aaron Sorkin Channel Frank Capra
Aaron Sorkin sets a snappy pace for this classic romance/comedy/Cinderella Story, utilizing the White House, the President, and his staff as the conduit for his dialogue writing prowess.
Clearly, this film helped influence the creation of The West Wing four years later, even using the same Oval Office set shown in this film.
In Sorkin's screenplays, self-confidence, keen intellect, superior communication ability, and one's ethics-compass are at the core of the protagonist's persona.
Michael Douglas portrays Democratic President Andrew Shepherd with the same believability and deft touch as he did playing Gordon Gecko in Wall Street.
Annette Benning is the ideal girlfriend of the widowed Shepherd, and engages the audience (and Douglas) in one of her most charming performances.
A first-class supporting actor ensemble are up to the task of portraying Sorkin's crack White House staff, adding immensely to making this film a feel-good romance that is believable and fun.
The plot doesn't delve deeply into the emotions or feelings of Shepard nor Benning's lobbyist charecter Sydney Ellen Wade, but highlights the witty repertoire one would expect from a US President and Capitol Hill lobbyist. The deft skill and movie-star quality each actor has developed in their respective acting careers are showcased with Sorkin's writing in telling this Whitehouse Cinderella story.
If the film went deep into emotions, it would have just gotten in the way of a story of a widowed relatively young President falling in love at first sight with Sydney, and the fun of seeing her being thrust into the White House staff and press fish bowl.
There is a definite Frank Capra influence to the film.
It all works better than it might seem on paper, and we get to enjoy another Rob Reiner classic: A director whose movie-making style and subject-matter is as diverse as anyone in the business.
In the end, the movie says that the President's private life matters, all right -- that Shepherd should get the girl and reestablish his leadership by giving in to the noble liberal he always was inside. Even for a modern Capra fable, that's a bit much to swallow.
Loved this. Though it is a typical romantic comedy in many respects, Aaron Sorkin is such a talented writer, he manages to reinvent the wheel. Charming, cute, and sweet romantically, while tough, smart, and poignant politically, The American President is a really top-notch film that is a masterclass in writing. Every word of dialogue oozes with power and weight, while demonstrating Sorkin's talent at creating incredibly well developed characters. Even better, the perfect writing allows this tremendous cast led by Michael Douglas, Annette Bening, Martin Sheen, and Michael J. Fox to really take off and soar. Not only is the character development top-notch here, but it is a truly compelling and poignant look at politics and the presidency, especially the interesting idea as to what would transpire if the President dated during this age of the media. Comedically, the film is incredibly smart, quick, and witty, showing that Sorkin is just as adept at writing a hilarious film as he is a smart one. Overall, The American President is a showcase for all the Sorkinisms that make his writing so damn perfect. Though typical, the film is so well-written, those cliches are ignorable because this is those cliches at their very best. Hard to imagine these cliches being better executed.
A fun political rom-com. As a huge fan of "The West Wing," I thought it was fun to see the film that started it all, but also had higher expectations of the dialogue and writing. It was also a little weird seeing Martin Sheen as the chief of staff.
In my view Annette Bening as Sydney Ellen Wade is the problem, she is unsympathetic and also I didnt see much connection between her and the president. So I was not convinced, why the president fell in love with Sydney. Michael Douglas on the other hand was top.
Avec l'âge, Michel Douglas campe un président fort crédible, veuf de son état, qui tombe amoureux d'une militante écolo volubile et naïve (Annette Bening, la sympathique milf). S'ensuit tout ce qu'il découle d'une relation présidentielle poursuivie et dépiautée par les médias rapaces, la valse-hésitation des sondages et l'ambition avouée d'une prochaine ré-élection.
Du classique en somme, mollement raconté, maladroitement brossé par un scénario gnangnan et très consensuel, et plus con que sensuel d'ailleurs. Le film ne fait guère illusion plus de 20 mn et sombre rapidement dans l'eau de rose (fût-elle présidentielle...) poussive et périmée : certains y verraient peut-être des allusions aux comédies américaines des années 50 et c'est là que réside le problème justement, car on s'en fout complètement
Pour compléter la distribution, Martin Sheen et Michel J. Renard -rescapé de ses fariboles temporelles- ont beau jouer les conseillers fidèles et dévoués, le film continue de couler dans les abysses sirupeuses de la collection Harlequin. Pathétique !