Time: 114 mins.
Received an Academy Award nomination for Best Score.
SYNOPSIS: As President, Andrew Shepherd (Douglas) is immensely popular (he has a 63% approval rating). As a man, he's a lonely father struggling to raise a daughter. His struggles multiply when his romance with lobbyist Sydney Ellen Wade (Bening) becomes fodder for both the press and a rival senator.
BOTTOM LINE: THE AMERICAN PRESIDENT is a film that showcases the man behind the office, something Americans are all too familiar with in the wake of Clinton's second term as President. I personally prefer to know as little about my leader's personal life as possible, but apparently there's been a shift in this country that has left me behind. This film shows a different side by humanizing the leader of the free world.
Douglas shines here in one of his most likable roles ever. Bening is the perfect choice for a dating partner pretty, intelligent, sexy and opinionated. Hers is certainly one of the best roles written for a mature woman in a long time. Bening and Douglas have good chemistry, giving their characters just the right level of shyness and maturity. Douglas pulls off both sides of the coin the authority figure and the lovelorn widow.
The romantic aspects of the film work better than the political ones, which are somewhat overplayed and unbelievable, but you can't very well have a film about the president without some intrigue being part of the plot. Reiner is one of our best director's and he manages to make an intelligent love story with humor, pathos and politics. Not hard when he has one of the best supporting casts ever collected. A must-see antidote to all the moronic teen flicks overwhelming the market.