By SANJIT DEEPALAM
Frost/Nixon, directed by Ron Howard, director of Rush, A Beautiful Mind and Apollo 13, was released in 2008 and is based on a true story about one of the most famous interviews of the 20th century.
In 1977, the disgraced President Richard Nixon (Frank Langella) decides to give a British late-night personality David Frost (Martin Sheen) a chance to interview him. This is Nixon’s first interview since seceding the presidency after the Watergate scandal. The world is stunned that Frost, a presenter used to interviewing celebrities, has gotten the chance to interview Nixon. Nixon and Frost come to the interview with different objectives; what follows is a tense four days of interviews that see Frost and Nixon engage in a battle of words.
The highlight of Frost/Nixon is its acting. Sheen does a great job portraying the charismatic Frost, but Langella is the standout performer. In his portrayal of Nixon, Langella perfectly executes the body language and talking pace of Nixon, and his long speeches during the interview are also very realistic. What is most remarkable about Langella’s portrayal is how human he makes Nixon seem. His interpretation of the role portrays a man who has had to fight to get to the top, and for whom losing the presidency was the biggest failure of his life. He craves his redemption but ultimately cannot achieve it.
Nixon’s humanity really has an effect on the audience. Like all people, Nixon is just searching for acceptance and love – things he did not have when he disgracefully left office. In the end, it is possible to feel bad for Nixon. Despite his wrongdoing, he, like all of us, is still human and seeks the same things we all do. This was the most touching part of the movie – it was not just a narrative of events, but a study of two different endearing personalities.
The movie was widely well received, with critics calling it “laced with tension, stinging wit, and potent human drama.” The movie also has 92% rating on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes and received 5 Oscar nominations.