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A well made, well acted, well shot mini-series subverted by its script
If you're reading this, you probably are aware of the controversy that kept this mini-series off of CBS. At the time, this movie was made out to be a character assassination. After watching it, I realize that's not what it was, and why Reagan supporters hated this movie.
The problem with this mini-series is that it's the dreaded docu-drama. Any insightful viewer who watches "The Reagans" will be left asking themselves how truthful this movie really was. This is the problem with the docu-drama in general. It's not a documentary, so it doesn't have to be held to any standard of fact (though Michael Moore somehow gets his movies labeled as documentaries, go figure).
So this ends up being a hodge-podge of things that have been inferred about the Reagans' lives from tell-alls and public record. The script of this film tries to neatly fit tidbits of the Reagans' lives into 15 second exchanges of dialogue. For example, it's been long known that Nancy is/was interested in astrology. The way we get introduced to this is having Nancy get told about astrology at a party in 1958 or something like that. It's just a little too neatly put together. It's similar with the dialogue between Reagan and his political advisor's.
Bottom line is, it's worth watching, though is too long, like mini-series always are. James Brolin does a very nice job of showing us the Reagan we all know. He also takes it past the Rich Little level -- he tweaks the character to show us someone that's just a bit deeper than the man we saw on television.
At the end, you'll probably be left thinking it was entertaining, maybe informative, but you'll want to read a more detailed biography that might be a little more rock solid in fact. Did Reagan really not want to get out of bed on the day of his inauguration? Once again.. very hard to believe.
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