“Primary Colors” is a veiled look at Bill Clinton’s 1992 pursuit of the Democratic nomination for President. At least, that’s what the press says.
So, the next question becomes, “Is all that really true?”
I’ll leave that to speculation. But, if the movie is accurate, there are two things we come to know about Bill Clinton:
1. Clinton was sincere as a loyal advocate for the working class; and,
2. Clinton was quite the promiscuous one with the ladies. As Henry Kissinger is quoted as saying in the movie “Nixon”, “power is the ultimate aphrodisiac.”
None of this is groundbreaking news. But, I was struck by the scene in the doughnut shop when John Travolta’s character, Governor Stanton, was genuinely interested in the plight of the all-night worker.
I was similarly struck when Travolta’s character was moved to tears as the black man at the library told of his struggles with dyslexia and illiteracy.
I remember taking a Myers Briggs test, and, I scored as an Extrovert, a Feeler, and a Judger. I don’t remember the other. At any rate, after i completed the test, there was a section “Famous People who Scored the Same”… First on the list was Bill Clinton. I felt pretty good about that.
Maura Tierney is delightful in the movie. Her best line is prompted by an older man asking her to fetch him a sandwich:
“Only if you promise to pinch my cheek, and, call me sugar.”
Also, Adrien Lester plays the up and coming political activist who is disillusioned by the whole experience:
“I am not comparing the players. I don’t like the game.”
Also, I thought Emma Thompson delivered on the part of the struggling, loyal wife, who tries so hard not see that which is plainly in front of her; and, is surprised and hurt when she can finally no longer deny the truth.
Primary Colors is an entertaining expose’ on Presidential politics, and, all of its rationalizations (It’s ok for us to play dirty tricks, because we are in it for the people).
The movie also has alot to say about race relations in America, particularly in the South. Finally, “Primary Colors” is about power, how to get it, how to use it, and, how to abuse it.
If you enjoy political movies, another remarkable movie about Bill Clinton is The Special Relationship, which recasts the friendship between Clinton and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
Incidentally, The Special Relationship is part of a trilogy that also includes “The Queen” and “The Deal”. All three are worth a view; and, star Michael Sheen as Tony Blair.
After viewing both “Primary Colors” and “The Special Relationship”, you can also judge which actor does a better job at portraying Bill Clinton: Is it John Travolta as Governor Stanton in “Primary Colors”, or, is it Dennis Quaid in “The Special Relationship” as President Clinton?