Frost / Nixon Parent Guide
Parent Movie Review
For three years after Richard Nixon’s threatened impeachment and resignation, little was heard from the disgraced statesman. Having been pardoned for his wrongdoings, there was never any legal means to force the 37th U.S. President to come clean with his involvement in the Watergate scandal.
Frost/Nixon opens in those dying days of his administration, and British journalist/satirist David Frost (played by Michael Sheen) is perhaps more curious than anyone to know what really happened. So much so that he’s willing to put hundreds of thousands of his own dollars and his career on the line to have the opportunity to interview Nixon (Frank Langella). The plan is to give the former commander-in-chief a chance to say what Frost is convinced the people of the United States are dying to hear: Nixon’s confession.
Baiting the reclusive ex-president with an ever-increasing sum of money, Frost finally gets his wish—but now he has to find a buyer for his series of interviews. Knocking on the doors of the major U.S. networks, he is met with rejections—mainly because network executives are concerned about supporting “checkbook journalism”—the practice of paying an interview subject.
Nevertheless, the Englishman presses forward with his goal, and hires a team to help him find out everything about Watergate and Nixon’s past. Namely, these investigators are James Reston, Jr. (Sam Rockwell), the author of numerous books about Nixon and a firm critic of the man’s leadership, and Bob Zelnick (Oliver Platt), a veteran reporter. The pair begins their in-depth research while Frost beats the bushes at corporate offices (like Weed Eater) looking for extra cash.
At the same time some of Nixon’s supporters, like his dedicated chief of staff Colonel Jack Brennan (Kevin Bacon) and prominent newswoman Diane Swayer (Kate Jennings Grant), construct their own tactics. They hope the interview series will win back public empathy for the man who, just a few years earlier, was elected by the second largest majority of voters in U.S. history.
For parents wishing to share this production with their teens, language may be the greatest concern. While profanities are only moderately frequent, four sexual expletives are heard along with a collection of rude anatomical terms, scatological expletives and uses of Christian deity. Other content consists of images from archival footage of injured and dead people, and depictions of smoking and drinking. Also, there is a brief backside view of a nude man running on a beach, what appears to be a naked woman climbing out of bed in a very dark room, and implied sexuality between an unmarried couple.
Like The Queen and The Other Boleyn Girl, this film was written by Peter Morgan. And just as in those two movies, his script provides similar creative perspectives of what might have been going on behind the scenes—with the emphasis on might. Setting up our protagonist and antagonist in a David versus Goliath battle, the script offers Frost a hero’s prize, while metaphorically delivering Nixon’s head on a platter—likely with a tad more garnish than in reality.
In a newspaper interview with The Guardian in August 2006, Morgan told reporter Gareth McLean, “Everyone I spoke to told the story their way. Even people in the room [at the time of the interviews] tell different versions. There’s no one truth about what happened off camera or behind the scenes during the period covered in our story. Perhaps for that reason, my conscience was clear about bringing my own writer’s imagination to the piece.”
These remarks should remind us that even with the stellar performances, excellent writing, and engaging emotions found in Frost/Nixon, historical movies and absolute truth are likely to be as conflicting as the two characterizations found in this film.Starring Ron Howard, Frank Langella, Michael Sheen, Kevin Bacon. Running time: 121 minutes. Theatrical release December 5, 2008. Updated April 20, 2009
Frost / Nixon
Rating & Content Info
Why is Frost / Nixon rated R? Frost / Nixon is rated R by the MPAA for some language.
This look at the events leading up to the 1970s interviews between David Frost and Richard Nixon makes for a dialogue-heavy movie. Although profanities are infrequent, about a half-dozen sexual expletives are heard. As well, there are depictions of smoking and social drinking (including one scene where a character is intoxicated). Violence is limited to a few seconds of graphic historical newsreel footage of dead and injured Cambodians. Sexual content consists of a brief, far away shot of a nude man seen from the rear, and an apparently naked woman barely seen getting out of bed in a very dark room (which also implies sexual activity between an unmarried couple).
Page last updated April 20, 2009
More parents' guide for Frost / Nixon after the break...
Frost / Nixon Parents' Guide
Dennis Wholey, host of This is America, interviewed David Frost in 2007, during which Frost discusses many of the events of the Nixon interviews seen in this movie. The interview with Wholey can be viewed below:
The most recent home video release of Frost / Nixon movie is April 21, 2009. Here are some details…
Home Video Notes: Frost/Nixon
Release Date: 21 April 2009
Frost/Nixon releases to DVD in a widescreen presentation, with audio tracks recorded in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English, French and Spanish) and subtitles in English, SDH, French and Spanish. Bonus materials include:
- Deleted Scenes
- Audio Commentary by Director Ron Howard
- Featurettes: The Making of Frost/Nixon, The Real Interview and The Nixon Library.
Frost/Nixon also releases to Blu-ray with audio tracks recorded in DTS 5.1 Surround (English and Spanish) and DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (English). Subtitles are available in English, SDH, French and Spanish. Bonus materials include:
- Deleted Scenes
- Audio Commentary by Director Ron Howard
- Featurettes: The Making of Frost/Nixon, The Real Interview, The Nixon Library and Discovering Secrets: The People and Places Behind the Story.
- Interactive Features: BD Live - Download Center, U Control - Picture-In-Picture and U Control - The Nixon Chronicles.
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