Entertainment: +2 1/2
Acceptability: -2 1/2

The life and times of deceased former President Richard M. Nixon (Anthony Hopkins) are presented in this powerful docudrama. It traces his life as a young boy in a poor family in California on through his tumultuous, ill-fated career as Congressman, Senator, Vice President and President of the United States. Spanning the 1950's into the 1970's, the film portrays his complex life and erratic personality against a lengthy background of American history including the Cold War, Vietnam, and World Communism. It portrays Nixon as capable of quiet kindness, political courage and devout loyalty to family and friends, but also at times cowardly, amoral, and surprisingly vicious. Running three and one half hours long, the film is overlong and sometimes depressing. Its many complex events are difficult to follow. Some of the more interesting parts show his interactions with his wife (Joan Allen) and his advisors, and the traumatic events of the Watergate break-in. Overall, NIXON is a fairly intriguing story of this enigmatic man, but seems unlikely to be a major box office draw.

The film's producers say the film is a dramatic blend of historical fact and interpretation, and rooted in solid research. However, Nixon's surviving daughters have challenged its authenticity, as has Chuck Colson, a former Nixon White House aide. Colson says the film demonizes Nixon and portrays him in a way that has little resemblance to the man he knew in the White House. Apparently, though, Nixon did have a foul mouth and he spews out obscenities and profanities throughout the film. Even he is embarrassed and angered when reading the filth-ladened transcripts of some of his taped conversations. At the same time, he loves and respects his family and holds to the religious beliefs imparted by his stern Quaker mother. He even asks Kissinger (Paul Sorvino) to pray with him at a time of crisis. At a cocktail party, he diplomatically evades the advances of a young woman. His daughter says that he is the most decent man she knows, but his dishonesty relating to the Watergate break-in destroys his career. Although his foul language is probably authentic, this film could have been just as effective without it. As it is, the film will offend many and does not win our approval.

Preview Reviewer: John Evans
Distributor: Buena Vista Pictures Distribution, Inc., 3900 Alameda Ave., Burbank, CA 91521

Crude Language: Many (51) times - Mild 26, Moderate 25
Obscene Language: Many (41) times - F-word 13, s-word 17, other 11
Profanity: Many (39) times - Regular 37 (GD, J, JC, Christ's Sake), Exclamatory 2
Violence: Few times - Moderate (rough treatment, riot control)
Sexual Intercourse: None
Nudity: None
Homosexual Conduct: J. Edgar Hoover subtly portrayed as being sexually attracted to male waiter
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: Few times (reference to intercourse, woman tries to seduce Nixon)
Drug Abuse: Several times (cocktail drinking, Nixon and others)
Other: Nixon prays, loves his family, refers to Quaker's 'peace inside'
Running Time: Unknown
Intended Audience: Adults

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