Love or Hate 'Game Change,' Julianne Moore Morphs into Sarah Palin

March 13, 2012
Source: THR

Julianne Moore / Sarah Palin

HBO's politically charged film Game Change premiered over the weekend and became the most watched original film on the cable network in eight years. No doubt the star power of subject Sarah Palin in her run for vice president in Senator John McCain's 2008 bid for the presidency fueled viewers' curiosity, but the battle across the aisle between liberals and conservatives about the film's unfair portrayal of the Alaskan governor's short-comings probably didn't hurt either. However, while I found the film to be quite good, I'm not here to argue anything except the undeniable fact that Julianne Moore disappeared into Sarah Palin.

Whether or not you agree with director Jay Roach and his depiction of Palin's problems with foreign policy or even our own government's rules, regulations, court cases and departments, the fact remains that Moore's performance, especially when it comes to recreating real-life interviews, speeches and appearances seen by millions back in 2008, is nearly flawless. It's not an exaggerated, comedic take that Tina Fey made famous quite hilariously on "Saturday Night Live," but an honest, passionate performance, much like Josh Brolin gave in W. or Anthony Hopkins gave in Nixon.

If this were a film that was released in theaters, Julianne Moore would undoubtedly be getting some Oscar love, and you can bet an Emmy nomination will come her way this fall. If you don't believe me, check out this mash-up video (via THR) putting Moore's performance side-by-side with some of the real interviews and speeches depicted in the film:

And if you still happen to be crying fowl at this film because you're a Palin supporter, or you just don't agree with this adaptation of the highly publicized election on the Republican side, make sure you note that Steve Schmidt, the real life Republican strategist and former adviser to John McCain's presidential campaign, portrayed in the film by Woody Harrelson, told THR this:

“I think it was very accurate. For all of us in the campaign, it really rang true. It gave you a little bit of PTSD at times. It did for me .But, look, I think it’s a story of when cynicism and idealism collide. When you have to do things necessary to win, to try to get in office to do the great things you want to do for the country and I think it showed a process of vetting that was debilitated by secrecy, that was compartmentalized, that failed, that led to a result that was reckless for the country."

This isn't meant to be political, but rather an examination that a film from HBO has garnered the controversy, audience and praise of a theatrically released film, and that Julianne Moore dove head first into this role and came out on top. This film isn't about whether liberals and conservatives are right or wrong, or even about who shouldn't been in the White House after that 2008 campaign, or even about the political problems facing our nation today. This is about a solid piece of drama, no matter how you agree with the ideals of a political party, and the great performance on Julianne Moore in the driver's seat. Thoughts?

Find more posts: Editorial, Hype, To Watch



Decent film, but I find that subject matter it tackled was too easy. The Ides of March touched on a lot of the same drama, secrecy and deceit that Game Change did, but it did so without needing real life connections to bolster its story. Palin is an easy figure to beat up and while solid overall, I could not help but feel this film was much the same. Beating the same dead horse as everyone else because it is safe to do so.

Ben Bonanza Cartwright on Mar 13, 2012


Obviously there was some in this film that people knew because the media was all over her, but this also delved into just how difficult this position was for her as a woman, mother and wife. The moments where she missed her baby, and wasn't trying desperately to seem like she knew everything felt human, genuine, and made her less of a caricature. That's why I think the film succeeds more than it fails as a whole.

Ethan Anderton on Mar 13, 2012


 The character portrayals were fine and genuine, but this is almost a movie that did not need to be made. It rehashes information about Palin both critics and fans already knew. She was a poorly vetted candidate that was in over here head. Much like prequels they told a story that did not need to be told.

Ben Bonanza Cartwright on Mar 13, 2012


Ides Of March was a very superficial view of politics. Great performances but hokey plot and sub-plots.

James Track on Mar 13, 2012


I thoroughly enjoyed the movie. Had to watch it in two parts, but definitely got its point across. B+

DAVIDPD on Mar 13, 2012


So, let me get this straight... They made a movie about Sarah Palin and how she came close to be the dumbest bitch to become vice president and still would've become the president if McCain had croaked? Yeah, HBO needed to remind us that. Whew!

Jedibilly on Mar 13, 2012


 Right, because Joe Biden has set such a high mark. Try again.

Blurb on Mar 14, 2012


Julianne Moore, as always, gave an incredibly deep and nuanced performance.  I can only hope that she receives a Golden Globe and Emmy for  this fine portrayal, as she has been overlooked for awards so many times before.  Besides her amazing lead role in Far From Heaven, for which she should have won the Oscar, I though that this was the second best performance of her career.

Pevlcsw on Mar 14, 2012


I was more impressed with Ed Harris, who made John McCain very much human and empathatic....where as with Moore, it was a good characterization, but she felt too much like a Puppet Doll and not a real human being

vvs on Mar 14, 2012


It actually made me feel sorry for Sarah Palin.  Was she supposed to turn down the opportunity?  And she was obviously a charismatic figure and a pretty good public speaker.  The sad difference is she was up against a more charismatic figure, who actually knows his stuff, and could have never triumphed.  At any rate, I'll be she spends a lot more time watching international news than she did before that race...

Tim on Mar 14, 2012


Funny how people want to praise Julianne Moore for emulating someone that obviously annoyed them. "WOW! Her portrayal of the person I hate is spot-on, and I love it!" Friggin' hypocrites. They claim they hate someone for their character, then they love that same character with a different face.

Blurb on Mar 14, 2012


No, I don't love Sarah Palin because of the film, but I respect and admire Moore's performance which didn't pass judgment on her as a person, which is something everyone in the media, including myself, has done in the past. Moore's performance doesn't change my position on Palin as a viable world leader or even a politician in general, but it was genuine, passionate and right on the money. There's nothing hypocritical about it at all. Bruno Ganz is phenomenal as Hitler in Downfall, but that doesn't make somebody sympathetic or even love Hitler, so I'm not sure what kind of connection you're trying to make.

Ethan Anderton on Mar 14, 2012


 What I’m curious about is why it seems like so many people that obviously have a different political view from Sarah Palin watch this film? From what I’ve read here some are so oppose to the woman that they can’t refrained from throwing their vitriol remarks. I’m not a fan of Che Guevara so I didn’t bother watching the film nor did I bother with HBO’s Recount with Kevin Spacey. I enjoyed film as an art form and is sad when is corrupted and used for political propaganda.  

Baron the Curse on Mar 14, 2012


How is it political propaganda when Steve Schmidt, the man behind the campaign and who is portrayed in the film by Woody Harrelson, and also was with Palin much of the time, including during vetting her before the announcement, says that it's accurate? You haven't even seen the film and you're painting it with a broad brush. That's no better than watching it and vehmenetly disagreeing and being vocal about it.

Ethan Anderton on Mar 14, 2012


Referring to Che and Recount. One paints the man in a "romantic revolutionary" light and the other was obviously politically motivated. As for the Palin film it probably didn't need to be made, they lost the election.

Baron the Curse on Mar 14, 2012


This movie scared me, not the plot or subject matter but Julianne Moore was too good on this one. My mom kept walking past wondering why Sarah Palin was making movies-forget that I told her every time it wasn't really Sarah Palin. Movie was better than expected, I meant to only glance at what it looked like but ended up watching the whole thing and liking it...I don't even like Sarah Palin as much as I liked the movie. The movie type wasn't even in my ball field, I never watch movies like this but I got sucked in

Barbara Ruiz on Mar 14, 2012


i feel like we dodge a bullet.  Seriously.

Vogue on Mar 15, 2012


As someone who didnt pay to much attention to the media during the 2008 presidential election i was curious about the people behind the scenes of the MCcain/Palin campaign and wanted to see this movie. Understanding that this was a movie and not a documentary and that there may have been some exagerations for entertainment value i still felt that it gave me a good idea as to what really happened and went on behind the scenes, as well as to what some of the thought processes were behind these people responsible for that campaign. I was blown away by Julianne Moore's performance as Sarah Palin and Woody Harrelson as Steve Schmidt and couldnt believe some of the things that happened during the course of this movie. I personally thought it was a good movie and enjoyed watching it. 

batsupe on Mar 15, 2012

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