“The Special Relationship” – 2010. Dir. Richard Loncraine

With Michael Sheen, Hope Davis, Helen McCroy and Dennis Quaid

HBO’s “The Special Relationship” marks the third time that writer Peter Morgan teams up with Michael Sheen where he plays former Prime Minister Tony Blair. This time the film deals with what is called, a “Special Relationship” meaning a partnering of two world leaders – Tony Blair and Bill Clinton.

Dennis Quaid portrays former President Bill Clinton, Hope Davis as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Helen McCroy as Blair’s wife.
There are very few highlights in a film that I have been looking forward too since it was announced. I’ve always been a big fan of Dennis Quaid – “Any Given Sunday”, “Great Balls of Fire”, “Far From Heaven” – but as Bill Clinton, Quaid is left overshadowed by the mountain of a character he’s playing. He just wasn’t believable at all. The phony prosthetics and accent were distracting.
The film spans from 1992 to 2000 and has a runtime of 93 minutes. Seriously? Of course Michael Sheen is wonderful as Tony Blair – how can he not be? This is his third outing as Blair.

I really find it unique that Tony Blair is such an important character to bother Sheen and Morgan – I’m very well versed in politics whether it’s American or world, I’m just so fascinated with it. I do think Blair is an important figure in contemporary politics, but I can’t help but think how out off all contemporary political figures, Tony Blair seems to be the most prolific.
The film is rather boring, but finds certain times when it’s very, very interesting. The best scene of the film is brief, but worth seeing. After the Monica Lewinski scandal breaks, Blair flies to Washington to have a meeting with Clinton, all his advisors including his wife, are telling him to stand back from Clinton, he’s political poison. Blair defies them and stands side by side with Clinton at a press conference where he shows his undying support for Clinton.

I didn’t expect Blair to be the main character of the film, but I suppose it makes sense looking back – Morgan did write it.  I was excited to see how Clinton was going to be portrayed.  I am a huge admirer of his, and I think he’s an amazing man and an even better president.  Clinton was shown the best light in this film, which is understandable – the man is one shrewd politician.

The film ends with a very good ending, both Clinton and Blair are watching Al Gore concede and George Bush address the nation – Clinton warns Blair of the Bush administration and to be careful because “those boys like to play rough”.
The film I want to see is Tony Blair’s downfall, his alliance with Bush and the Iraq War – the later years that made his legacy, shaping it to be around war criminal status. Blair is an interesting figure that a lot of American know very little about. The way he allied himself with Clinton, and then again with Bush – where is image in the world was slashed and burned, leaving him with nothing but ash and rubble to kick around.  See “Primary Colors” instead.

Rating: 6.5/10


Author: Frank Mengarelli

Everybody relax, Frank's here. After going to film school at Columbia College Chicago, Frank decided to underachieve with his vast knowledge of film into a career in civil service. Frank had a brief stint as a film blogger, and then he met the heterosexual love of his life, Nick Clement. The two instantly bonded over their love from everything to Terence Malick to THE EXPENDABLES films. Some of Frank's favorite filmmakers are Terence Malick, Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino, Sylvester Stallone, Oliver Stone and Spike Lee. Some of his favorite films are THE TREE OF LIFE, STAR WARS (all of them), BAD LIEUTENANT, THE THING and ALL THAT JAZZ. Frank spends his free time with his dog Roger, collecting any Star Wars collectible he can find and trying to finish his pretentious, first person narrative novel(la), LARGE MEN IN SMALL CARS..

2 thoughts on ““The Special Relationship” – 2010. Dir. Richard Loncraine”

  1. It’s a shame. I was really, really looking forward to that, though I’d been deflating my hopes since I heard it was about Blair/Clinton and not Blair/Bush – the last one seems the most obvious way to round out the writer’s “Blair trilogy” (The Deal/The Queen/The Special Relationship).

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