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Game Change

Year: 2012
Studio: HBO Films
Director: Jay Roach
Writer: Danny Strong/Mark Halperin/John Heilemann
Cast: Julianne Moore, Woody Harrelson, Ed Harris, Peter MacNicol, Sarah Paulson, Ron Livingston

There seems to be two sides to Jay Roach, the cineplex friendly comedy director behind the Austin Powers movies and the Meet the Fockers saga, and the guy with an eye for political drama portrayed with smarts and amazing acting talent.

Game Change is a movie hewn very much in the style of his 2008 HBO film Recount, about the voting scandal that plagued the 2000 presidential elections.

This time he's giving us another upheaval in American political life, the appointing of Sarah Palin to try and help John McCain to victory against the popular Democrat party choice, Barack Obama.

As Palin, Julianne Moore has the look, voice and manner. She reigns in the aspects of Palin's character that were such easy pickings for Tina Fey's many impressions (some of which are featured in the movie). Her Palin isn't an out and out idiot, she's a deeply principled woman who just happened not to be very well educated.

As Cain (Ed Harris) goes about trying to mount a compelling reason for the American people to vote for him instead of the upstart Senator from Chicago, he leaves his wily campaigner Steve Schmidt (Woody Harrelson) to wrangle Palin as she starts to deteriorate.

Falling apart from the stress and the personal attacks, Palin is determined to help lead McCain to victory even while the staff do everything they can both to prepare her for the media onslaught and shield her from it until she's ready.

History tells us how it all ended up, but as always, even if this is only one director's (and writer's) idea of how it happened, Moore plays Palin without a trace of the mean-spirited satire most of Hollywood wanted to direct at her.

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