President Lyndon Baines Johnson was a man whose personality, temper, and crass behavior were as big as the state of Texas that he proudly called home. His political prowess was legendary in how he was able to bend people to his will.
The new film “LBJ” seems to have taken this political giant down a peg or two making him a hollow figure. This view is acceptable today, which is dominated by political correctness rather then what is true to history. It gives audiences a version of Johnson that is a little bit rosier.
The movie starts out with President John F. Kennedy’s arrival in Dallas at Love Field Airport on Nov. 22, 1963. From that moment in time, it takes the audience forward and backward in Johnson’s life showing the high and low points of his political career and personal life. It then shows events following Kennedy’s assassination and the early months of Johnson’s presidency.
Historical movies are always tough to make because you need to stick to the timeline. LBJ does this part right, which gives the audience a strong story to invest in and believe.
One of the ways this is accomplished is through the casting of Woody Harrelson as Johnson and Jeffery Donovan as Kennedy. The moment I saw them on screen I thought I was looking at a mirror image. They nailed the voice and the mannerisms of the two. This really helps to sell the story.
The main drawback to this film is in the portrayal of the events. At times I felt that I was fully connected to the story as if I was standing in the room with Johnson and members of his cabinet. Other times there was a noticeable disconnect where historical events are being shown through the interpretation of 21st-century eyes.
LBJ is a good movie and one that I am glad that I went and saw. However, it left so much on the table by giving a watered down view of history. The potential to do something more was here but greatness was left untapped.
This movie is a limited release and is currently playing at the Magnolia Theater. The Magnolia Theater is located at 3699 McKinney Ave. in Dallas.
I give “LBJ” three out of five mustaches.
This film is rated R for language and runs 98 minutes.