Movie Review

The American President

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some strong language

Reviewed by: Lisa Sutter
CONTRIBUTOR

Average
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Teens Adults
Genre:
Romantic Drama
Length:
1 hr. 54 min.

Starring: Michael Douglas, Annette Bening, Martin Sheen, Michael J. Fox, Anna Deavere Smith, Samantha Mathis, Shawna Waldron | Director: Rob Reiner | Written by: Aaron Sorkin

“The American President” has an all-star cast… Michael Douglas, Annette Bening, Michael J. Fox, Samantha Mathis, Martin Sheen, and Richard Dreyfuss.

Michael Douglas plays Andrew Shepherd, a widower with a twelve-year-old daughter named Lucy who just happens to be President of the United States. He meets and quickly falls in love with Sydney Ellen Wade (Bening), an Environmental lobbyist. President Shepherd struggles to do his duty to the nation in his office, but his desire to have a serious personal relationship with Sydney outside of the office is equally important. Personal privacy is next to impossible, and his every action is reflected in poll results and approval ratings. The media is especially ruthless to the President.

Andrew Shepherd is a President who values character highly. While viewers may disagree with his political agenda, they will develop respect for him at the same time. He is open and honest and doesn’t try to give excuses for his behavior.

From a Christian perspective, this movie is somewhat offensive. There is some profanity and an implied sexual encounter between Miss Wade and President Shepherd. But it is dealt with delicately. Nothing is really shown (except for a shot of Bening wearing a man’s white shirt with no pants) But there are no overt sexual acts in this film. There is no violence in this movie. This movie deals realistically with the pressures and responsibilities that come with being the President of the United States.

While not recommended for children, older teens and adults may enjoy this film and find interesting springboards for discussion.

Year of Release—1995

Viewer Comments
This movie’s attempt to get the viewer to side with certain (liberal) views is beyond blatant. There was no reason the president and his girlfriend couldn’t have kept the sex out of their relationship until marriage. But then there wouldn’t have been a story, and the movie couldn’t make its forced, artificial points. My Ratings: [2/2½]
—Ted, age 38
Well written film that explores an adult relationship between the most powerful man in the world and a woman who doesn’t always agree with his politics. I enjoyed some of the cute moments that involved problems that a single President would have if he was dating someone. Due to the sexual content and adult themes, I would not recommend bringing children and teens to the theater. But discerning adults may like the sharp dialogue and the characters. My Ratings: [3/4]
—Hillari Hunter, age 37
After watching this movie, I was completely disguisted. Saying that it’s right to burn the American flag is… horrible. Men died for that very flag, paid the ultimate price, and we treat it like garbage. I think the men who died for this country would “turn over in their graves” if they knew such a contreversial film was made. The language was also very offensive, and there was also implied sex. From a Christian point of view, I was very, very disappointed. My Ratings: [1½/3]
—Annie, age 21