LBJ (2017) - Rotten Tomatoes

LBJ (2017)

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Critic Consensus: LBJ loses sight of its complicated subject, ignoring the more intriguing aspects of his personality and career in favor of a frustratingly ordinary biopic treatment.

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After powerful Senate Majority Leader Lyndon Johnson (Woody Harrelson) loses the 1960Democratic presidential nomination to Senator John F. Kennedy (Jeffrey Donovan), he agrees to be his young rival's running mate. But once they win the election, despite his extensive legislative experience and shrewd political instincts, Johnson finds himself sidelined in the role of vice president. That all changes on Nov. 22, 1963, when Kennedy is assassinated and Johnson, with his devoted wife Lady Bird (Jennifer Jason Leigh) by his side, is suddenly thrust into the presidency. As the nation mourns, Johnson must contend with longtime adversary Attorney General Bobby Kennedy (Michael Stahl-David) and one-time mentor Georgia Senator Richard Russell (Richard Jenkins) as he seeks to honor JFK's legacy by championing the historic Civil Rights Act of 1964.

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Cast

Woody Harrelson
as Lyndon Baines Johnson
Jennifer Jason Leigh
as Lady Bird Johnson
Rich Sommer
as Pierre Salinger
Bill Pullman
as Ralph Yarborough
C. Thomas Howell
as Walter Jenkins
Jeffrey Donovan
as John F. Kennedy
Richard Jenkins
as Richard Russell
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Critic Reviews for LBJ

All Critics (81) | Top Critics (23)

Woody Harrelson in the title role has enough spice to keep the viewer alert and attentive.

November 6, 2017 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
Top Critic

The best thing the director has going for him is his star, Woody Harrelson.

November 3, 2017 | Rating: B- | Full Review…

It's as workmanlike as Johnson was as a politician; but as a primer on one of history's less flashy leaders, it's a worthwhile watch - mostly for fellow Texan Woody Harrelson's committed performance behind those prosthetic ears.

November 3, 2017 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Captures a tumultuous political era and one of its most profanely colorful leaders with a good deal of insight and emotional torque.

November 3, 2017 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Harrelson gives it all he has as the gruff, emotionally needy and politically savvy successor to the matinee-idol commander-in-chief, John F. Kennedy.

November 3, 2017 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

Here, Reiner's more like an efficient ride operator, unconcerned about the clankiness of the machinery but certain you'll enjoy the stuff that's supposed to work.

November 2, 2017 | Full Review…
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for LBJ

½

From Rob Reiner comes the incredibly compelling political thriller LBJ. The story follows Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson in the mist of the Kennedy assassination as he's swept into the presidency and has to decide how to proceed with Kennedy's social agenda and what kind of president he wants to be. Starring Woody Harrelson, Jeffrey Donovan, and Jennifer Jason Leigh, the film has an impressive cast that delivers some really good performances. And, the script is especially well-written and uses flashbacks to cover Johnson's political career and history with the Kennedys. However, it kind of skirts around the Vietnam War, focusing instead on Johnson as the workhorse who turned Kennedy's dream into a reality with the Civil Rights Act of 1964. There's a rose-colored tint to LBJ, but it's still a fascinating look at the man who shepherded the country through an extraordinary crisis.

Dann Michalski
Dann Michalski

Super Reviewer

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