Before you read this review, please keep in mind that it is based on my personal views and interpretation of the movie. Okay, so I finally saw Game Change (or The Sarah Palin Movie as I like to call it). It’s technically about John McCain’s campaign, but Sarah Palin gets the most spotlight.
Watching this movie felt like I was watching the campaign all over again, except this time with insider information. There were real clips of Obama, Katie Couric, and many more. This is not exactly a suspense-filled movie or one with tons of surprises, but there may be some spoilers in this review. So if you don’t want to read any of them, this would be the time to exit this page. Just hit EXIT.
We suspected it, but this movie confirmed it. The only reason John McCain picked Sarah Palin as his running mate was because he was trying to do something big, bold, and in line with his maverick nature. He was running against an African-American junior senator who before this campaign was a nobody, but who had become widely popular in what seemed to be overnight. In Berlin, he drew a 200,000-people crowd. Berlin. Located in the country[Germany] he was not running in. So imagine what was happening in the United States.
Steve Schmidt, McCain’s campaign manager agreed that a woman was needed as McCain’s running mate. And how did they pick Sarah? Google. Yeah, they googled women in office, and voila, Sarah Pain. She was the governor of Alaska with an 80% approval rating, pro life, and at the age of 44, she got pregnant and still went ahead to keep the baby, despite knowing he would be born with down syndrome. What better maverick choice, right?
They learned the hard way that Sarah Palin was not only unprepared, but also unwilling to do the work to be prepared. They had to teach her what was considered to be basic knowledge for someone in such high power. Like the reason for the war in Iraq and Afghanistan and the roles of the Queen and the Prime Minister in Britain.
If you’re a democrat or anti-republican, you’ll find that it was very easy to not like John McCain during the campaign. He was an erratic man, it seemed. But this movie sheds a different light on McCain. In spite of how badly he wanted to win and how willing he was to do whatever it took to win, there was also something he was not willing to do: to attack Obama’s character. And this was seen when he completely refused to go after Obama because of his Pastor, Jeremiah Wright. And even when he linked Obama to Bill Ayers, he did not like the turn it began to take as people started referring to Obama as a terrorist. It also shows McCain as a patient, kind-hearted man who was just having the unluck of his time.
The failure of McCain’s campaign was due to many things, including Sarah Palin’s lack of knowledge. It was also due to bad timing (Bush had been President for eight years; America was in the middle of two wars; the economy had just crashed; Obama was young, fresh, and different on all counts. It was due to poor decisions made by his campaign staff (like the decision to bring Palin on board without properly vetting her, and the decision to suspend his campaign). And much more.
Sarah Palin, on the other hand, was a woman of great faith. She was a hockey mom with five children who – to the bewilderment of everyone – was the governor of a whole State. She was a woman who understood her next door neighbor’s need to get a second job. But she clearly did not understand and could not comprehend foreign policies or their magnitude. She was minding her business when she got the phone call to come and campaign for the position of Vice President. To her, it was favor from God. It was God’s timing. Was she in over her head? Of course. But like her or not – and I don’t – she was also truly blessed. She was the most unlikely candidate, but she was chosen.
Lessons learned from this movie:
1. When it’s your time, it is your time. You won’t have to force it; it’ll just happen.
2. Talent is great, but it can only get you so far. You’ll have to do the work, too.
3. No matter what it is, you have to master your craft. If politics was Sarah’s craft, she clearly was nowhere close to mastering it.
4. You have to always be yourself.
5. You have to remain humble.
Would I recommend this movie? Yes. Absolutely No doubt. It’s a HBO movie. so if you’re subscribed to HBO, you get to watch it for free. As of yesterday evening, it was no yet available OnDemand, but you can always check the schedule to see when next it’s showing. When you watch it, let me know what you think.