LBJ (2017) movie CR: Electric Entertainment


The span of three years was to some the pinnacle of western culture that bridged “finding Camelot” to Dealey Plaza! This Rob Reiner film covers the vice presidency of Lyndon Baines Johnson from the time of him being majority leader of a Senate that – once he decides to run against Kennedy for the Democrat presidential nomination in 1960 and loses, only to be chosen for the ticket to shore up southern support – is seen as a throwback for progressive legislation. Regarded as firmly entrenched in the segregationist’s camp by civil rights leaders, labor and the President’s kid brother Bobby (Michael Stahl-David), Woody Harrelson’s chameleonic performance becomes a case study in torment as Johnson is badgered by constant criticism from his own party to the point where he fears being ousted from the ’64 ticket. But, thrust into the presidency after assassination, the soul of a statesman emerges to where he is able to push forward Kennedy’s Civil rights Bill of ’64 with Republican support before the shadow of southeast Asia pillars his presidency. All the historical players get mentioned – Dirksen, McNamara, McGeorge Bundy and Georgia’s Richard Russell (a remarkable performance by Richard Jenkins) – but somehow Bobby Baker did not make the cut! Jennifer Jason Leigh is hauntingly accurate in the guise of Lady Bird.