First some disclaimers. I can’t stand Sarah Palin. Her ignorance, lack of self-introspection, dishonesty, and megalomania made her singularly unfit for being a heartbeat away from the Presidency. I used mt.o like McCain before the 2008 election where he jumped the shark in order to pander to the Republican base. And finally, I am not in any way claiming to be a movie reviewer of any skill whatsoever.
Now with that out of the way, I just wanted to start by saying that the first part of the movie, indeed the first two-thirds of it, are actually pretty easy on all the people involved and there is nothing very revelatory or ugly. However, when the press does finally start looking closely at Palin and begin to demand interviews is when the ugly revelations start to come to light.
What you won’t hear from Palin supporters is the fact that this movie is far kinder and far more nuanced than it could have been. If they had wanted to utterly destroy her reputation, they probably could have. But they didn’t. Instead we see both Palin’s weaknesses and her strengths. The film gives her credit for things that she actually did very well. And you get a view of her that wasn’t apparent during the campaign…the view that she was a pretty stressed out person, who missed her family desperately, and was in way over her head. On several occasions I felt sorry for her and to be honest, I would have expected Hell to freeze over before I ever felt sorry for Palin.
Another thing that surprised me was how the pressure of having to cram all of modern history and American foreign policy into her brain while on the campaign trail pushed her to near catatonic states. Her behavior was so strange that Sen. McCain actually had a psychiatrist observe her during a a visit to his Sedona home.
The last third of the movie shows a major change in her personality after she performs well in the VP debate. She seems to gain strength and starts to push back against the campaign staff, saying what she wants and pretty much doing what she wants. In the end, even though Steve Schmidt doesn’t come out and say he regretted suggesting Palin to McCain it is apparent to the viewer that that is what he is thinking.
All in all, the person who comes out of it looking the most benign is McCain. And the quality of the acting, particularly by Harrelson and Moore, is pretty good. I would recommend watching it, anther you are a fan of Palin or not.