Game Change - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Game Change Reviews

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Super Reviewer
March 28, 2014
This look into the political sphere surrounding the 2008 election is eye opening, very intuitive, and looks and feels like a real depiction of those seen more as celebrities than politicians. Whether or not you find the view slanted, and liberal biases threaded throughout, it was a really microscopic look into the spectrum of political punditry nowadays, how a candidate's look and youth appeal are weighted heavier than their ideology. Palin (Moore) is of course demonized as an ignorant fame whore who finds the work too difficult but the fame heartening. Harris plays John McCain as a hearty, robust American who only wants to calm the nerves of a perverse society and give order once again. He's shown as the good guy, part of the Lost Generation, and Palin is the new, the stupid, the lazy America of youth. It's almost heart breaking to watch Palin get humiliated by the public when she has a certain level of integrity and small town charm. Even if she is demonized, she's depicted as a good person thrust onto the national stage without preparedness, which leaves her looking vulnerable, if overly ambitious.
Super Reviewer
½ April 29, 2013
Julianne Moore scores a personal triumph in this making a woman who is basically an unqualified not terribly bright egoist at least seem human and somewhat used. Quite a feat. The rest of the production is high caliber with exemplary work from Ed Harris, Sarah Paulson and particularly Woody Harrelson. The rest of the supporting cast, Peter MacNicol, Larry Sullivan et. al, is just as strong. It's disquieting though to realize how close an uninformed puppet came to a seat of supreme power.
Super Reviewer
March 9, 2013
One of those political dramas that skips the red/blue dichotomy to remind you that politicians are people too. You walk away with a profound respect for Senator McCain, a deep sympathy for Governor Palin, and an overwhelming relief for the outcome of the 2008 election.

Overall, a well made movie. Julianne Moore does wonderfully in her attempt to add color to the most colorful character in recent politics, and Woody Harrelson proves again that he is one of the finest actors of the generation. Entertaining and fun, in a History channel sort of way.
Super Reviewer
December 2, 2012
During the 2008 Presidential Campaign, John McCain's running mate Sarah Palin was virtual unknown. However she became a fresh face in the campaign. Also she became much ridiculed throughout the campaign and is now infamous due to the Katie Couric interview. Game Change is a well directed and acted political drama with a great cast of actors. Julianne Moore is a great actress and she delivers one of her best performances as Sarah Palin. This is a well constructed film by director Jay Roach, who also directed Meet the Parents and Austin Powers. I thought it was nice to see him tackle something different, and he delivers a well crafted picture that chronicles this historical presidential campaign. Roach directs a stunning cast that includes Ed Harris as John McCain. Woody Harrelson and Ron Livinston also star and they all have something to offer. This is a well rounded out drama, and this is among the best made for TV films that I have seen in quite some time. The plot is terrific, and there's plenty to enjoy despite just a so-so subject. Political Dramas are at times lacking in good content, but director Jay Roach definitely pulls out something special, and he has plenty of good material here to work with. Not to mention that the cast that he directs is wonderful, and are accomplished in terms of delivering effective performances worth seeing. Julianne Moore on the other hand, steals the show and she is absolutely terrific in her part. This is a must see film for people that loves this genre of film and it is worth it alone just to watch a wonderful role played by Moore.
Super Reviewer
½ May 20, 2012
You wouldn't believe it if it wasn't true. Funny and sharp with a clutch of brilliant performances, especially Julianne Moore's spot-on Palin. Full review later.
Super Reviewer
March 31, 2012
"It's not that she doesn't know the right answer, it's that she clearly does not understand the question."

Follows John McCain's 2008 presidential campaign, from his selection of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate to their ultimate defeat in the general election.

John McCain (Ed Harris) is the Republican candidate for President in 2008 and his platform lacks popular support: Barack Obama is clearly a celebrity frontrunner destined to win the election. It is the idea of political strategist Steve Schmidt (Woody Harrelson in a brilliant performance) to find something to garner public support - and he and his colleague Rick Davis (Peter Macnicol) land with the idea of finding a woman candidate to pull the women's votes. They select Alaska Governor Sarah Palin (Julianne Moore in a bravura performance), do a very poor job of screening her qualifications, and suddenly Palin is the running mate; the crowds love her, she speaks to people in small places, and uses all her personal baggage to her advantage.

The problems begin when it becomes obvious that she lacks intelligence, is severely uninformed about foreign policy, the economic crisis, the Federal government, the various wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and terrorism, and in general is a source of embarrassment whenever she opens her mouth in an interview or debate, despite the courageous attempts to coach her by correspondent Nicolle Wallace (Sarah Paulson) and Mark Wallace (Rick Livingston). She takes notes on cards, trying to learn politics, but continues to make gross statements to the press and the public. She begins to crumble, giving signs of mental illness, and cannot cope with the criticism and the absence of her family. Ultimately she is given a script to memorize in case she is asked any questions. She seems to means well but she simply is unfit for office. The film ends with McCain's defeat and Palin's fury that she can't make a concession speech! The pacing of the action is brisk and the cast handles the delicacy of a biopic with sensitivity. Julianne Moore's sensitive portrayal never stoops to mockery but simply shows all sides of the strange personality and mind of Sarah Palin. The film relives a fascinating moment in American history, one that hopefully will never be repeated.
Super Reviewer
March 27, 2012
Game Change, based on the novel of the same name, is an HBO production concerning the events around the choosing of Sarah Palin as John McCain's running mate in the 2008 Presidential election.

Using a first rate script, director Jay Roach keeps things moving, telling the tale of one of the major faux paux of recent memory. McCain didn't really think he'd win the Republican nomination and unrealistically and true to his maverick nature, had thought he'd shake things up by having a Democrat, Joe Lieberman (who was Al Gore's running mate against Dubya) be VP candidate. After being told there was no chance of winning with such a concept, he asked his campaign manager, Steve Schmidt (wonderfully portrayed by Woody Harrelson) to come up with a "game changer". Harrelson, after seeing Obama achieve near rock star status during a speech in Berlin, figures the only way to equal the playing field is by choosing a woman running mate. Only problem is that there were woefully few choices on the Republican side of the aisle; until he caught a video of a Palin speech.

Unfortunately, the clock was running so the party didn't really have enough time to research their potential candidate, and after the nomination was announced, it was too late to turn back.

Julianne Moore is scary good as Palin; not only looking the part, but fully embodying the cheerleader brat who knows how to connive her way through things, but becomes a petulant child when things don't go her way. In typical fashion she ignores all the advice regarding the idea that perhaps her foreign affairs education is somewhat lacking, and then, after she tanks the Katy Courik interview, blames press secretary Sarah Poulson for not properly preparing her!

I could go on and on about Ms. Palin's escapades, but that's something you should enjoy for yourself. Suffice it to say she comes across as a self absorbed megalomaniac, who latches on to the right wing demogodery and actually believes she is qualified, and in fact perfect for the job, not only of VP, but eventual president - and this is a person who believes that the Queen of England actually holds political power in the UK and has no idea that a Prime Minister even exists - which means that the accomplishments of fellow female Maggie Thatcher were totally under her miniscule radar!

But enough about the media created creature that is Palin. I should be talking up the film, which has wonderful performances throughout. As I've mentioned Woody and Moore are terrific, and Ed Harris is fantastic as McCain; as is Michelle Wallace as Sarah Poulson, who utters perhaps the best line of the film; on election night, as it becomes apparent that McCain will be defeated, and all their hard work will come to naught, Poulson confides to Woody - "this is so sad, I couldn't even vote"; meaning that she thought so little of Palin that she couldn't even caste a vote for the party she had devoted so much time to.

As usual, HBO has delivered yet another sterling historical biopic piece - after watching this, it's no wonder that Ms Palin is pissed off about how she was portrayed - but like everything else about her, there's just too much that is common knowledge for you to be taken in by her rhetoric.
Super Reviewer
March 29, 2012
Harris and Moore are John McCain and Sarah Palin in this HBO dramatization of their failed election campaign.

It might be election year but it seems a strange time to bring this story to the screen, either three years late or thirty years early. At this point we've seen countless portrayals of Palin, from comedians to pornstars. This is probably the first serious dramatic attempt but Moore falls well short. Visually she looks perfect but her performance is far too comic and seems to be based on Frances McDormand's irritating turn in "Fargo". Harris is impressive but the anchor of the film is Harrelson, brilliant as campaign strategist Steve Schmidt.
I knew this would essentially be an attack on Palin, which is fine by me, but I have a major problem with the manner of the attack. Rather than focusing on her insane worldview it cheaply mocks her for being uneducated. Attacking an individual for their lack of intelligence seems below the belt when the target of criticism should be the society that elevates and cultivates these people.
What we have here is a classic case of liberal hypocrisy. Palin is turned into an object of derision for being nothing more than a dumb hick. Ironically the director is Jay Roach whose previous credits include "Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me" and "Meet The Fockers". He's contributed a lot more to the dumbing down of America than Palin ever will.
Palin might be laughed at for appealing to Joe the plumber but Joe is the very person so-called liberal Hollywood panders to. Whether it's votes or bums on seats, the lowest common denominator will always be the most indulged.
Super Reviewer
April 29, 2012
Based on a part of a book by the same name, it focuses on Sarah Palin picked as the running mate for John McCain. Julianne Moore sparkles up the screen with her depiction of a power hungry, unstable Palin with excellent performances from the rest of the cast.
As a political drama, it makes for engaging viewing.
Super Reviewer
½ March 28, 2012
A truly great portrayal of Sarah Pallin by Julianne Moore, along with some good work from both Woody Harrelson and Ed Harris, make Game Change a genuinely intriguing, and occasionally insightful political drama. However, it's clearly held back by a liberal screen adaptation by the book of the same name, building up McCain to be an admirable, honorable, and intellectual centrasit, while painting Palin in an often condescending way. The dynamics of the campaign are interesting, and can make a compelling tale, but to start with a premise that conservatives are inherently backward is disengenous. Overall though, much of the actual events of the film share some historical basis, giving the film a bit of a pass for its commentary indulgences.

3.5/5 Stars
Super Reviewer
½ March 30, 2012
Its fairly underwhelming, though its not the biased Sarah Palin bash fest I anticipated which is good. I think the central problem lies in its relative tameness. While I didn't want a film that was just a series of attacks against the Republican Party, I would at least like something that has an edge to it. The film only lightly touches on the more disturbing elements of the campaign (the terrifying racism directed at Obama and the inability of the McCain campaign to really comprehend its scope). The book its based on,examined the Obama and Clinton campaigns as well, and I think I would have liked this more if it had that type of broad perspective. Also, this probably would be a more engaging film with the benefit of a few years of hindsight.
Super Reviewer
½ January 5, 2013
I don't know whether I like this film or not, but Julianne Who-ore really did a good job playing Sarah Palin, although she's a liberal pro-choice scumbag. I really don't know whether it's a good film or not because of the likely inaccuracy of what really happened during the campaign. Democrats can do whatever they want, but they are never going to hide the truth and fabricate lies.
Super Reviewer
½ October 25, 2012
Game Change is entertaining and surprisingly bipartisan, and provides a well-crafted, insightful look into the intriguing backstory of 2008's presidential election, and Moore plays Palin with an uncanny accuracy.
Super Reviewer
April 6, 2012
Really fascinating. Julianne Moore at her best and a strong cast overall. Not as strong as HBO's Recount from a few years back but equally as appealing.
½ March 2, 2016
This is a film about reality, about things that really happened to people that really exist. And in that, I felt deeply moved but also informed. And I left with a greater respect for McCain, and greater sympathy for Palin.
February 11, 2016
What terrific performance by Julienne Moore , Ed Harris and Woody Harrleson. I do not like Sarah Palin and I also believe she is a symbol of what is wrong with American politics. It is not what you know it is how popular you are that will usually get one elected. Thank God we got it right in 2008. By all means see this great film. I'm glad I did.
January 2, 2015
Sarah Palin, as once mentioned in the film about criticism and deadly reputation thereafter, has come under attack recently on the family dog being mistreated by son, seeing standing on dog to reach the sink. John McCain is has and was the center of the film for its few minutes along with the relationship that deepened because of it, Sarah becomes the gold. Film mainly catergorized by its backdrop from real time events, and characters that made due, the speeches and successes of these investigations and relationships are chronicled behind the scenes. Elaborated by the main man, the right buttons, talks, encouragement, emphasis, toward the campaign on what to know and what to understand, the exposure and faults taken from clever misunderstandings and faults of the media exposing all quite the same are broadcasted.
½ August 11, 2014
Moore and Harrelson were the stars of this movie. I don't care how much of this behind the scenes look at the McCain/Palin election was fabricated - it made for a great movie.
½ April 28, 2014
Moore knocks it out of the friggin park here to the point she had my emotions chruning...almost to the point I don't wanna watch it again...not due to the movie being bad but her performance is so convincing it pisses me off how ignorant Palin was. It's really a good movie that isn't excellent but I can't point out direct flaws. I think the casting is flawless. ..McCain played by Ed Harris and Woody Harrelson being campaign manager. I don't know how accurate this is but I do know the cast is damn convincing.
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