The Special Relationship

NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE POLITICS OF FRIENDSHIP.

As Tony Blair (Michael Sheen) is elected Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, he’s already enjoyed the support of U.S. President Bill Clinton (Dennis Quaid) for some time… but the special relationship will be tested over the years. The third film to star Sheen as Blair (after The Deal (2003) and The Queen (2006)) focuses on a friendship between two leaders where the balance of power shifts back and forth; apparently, it all comes down to doing each other favors in the shadow of crises involving Northern Ireland, Monica Lewinsky and Bosnia. A bit episodic perhaps, but compelling, with solid performances by Sheen and Helen McCrory as a very down-to-earth couple and a surprisingly effective one by Quaid who nails Clinton’s voice without overdoing it.

2010-U.S.-Britain. Made for TV. 93 min. Color. Produced by Frank Doelger, Tracey Scoffield, Ann Wingate. Directed by Richard Loncraine. Teleplay: Peter Morgan. Cast: Michael Sheen (Tony Blair), Dennis Quaid (Bill Clinton), Hope Davis (Hillary Clinton), Helen McCrory (Cherie Blair), Adam Godley, Mark Bazeley.

Trivia: Julianne Moore was allegedly considered for the part of Hillary. McCrory and Bazeley played the same characters in The Queen.

Last word: “Filmmaking is a constantly evolving process and when you shoot the movie and when you get to the cutting room, you have to say ‘This is what we’ve got. What do we do with it?’ We had to use archive material, obviously, to tell our story. There were many conveniences we’d like to have gone down, which we could not do because politically they would have been inaccurate and HBO wouldn’t let us [do] it and also it would have been, I think, wrong to have done that. But trying to balance between entertainment and the political accuracy was very hard.” (Loncraine, HitFix)

ABOVE AVERAGE

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