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4.8 out of 5 stars128
4.8 out of 5 stars
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on 30 December 2006
Annette Benning is lovely; she exudes obvious sharp wit and political astuteness in this role but it's perfectly balanced by her senior prom-girl delight and endearing naivety at the enormity of the context of the relationship being proposed to her.

Aaron Sorkin's screenplay shows all the rapid fire acuity and understanding of complex political argot as would be so fabulously demonstrated later in The West Wing and it's nice to see some of the actors/characters (minor and major) who would also appear in that series.

Yes, the politics are clearly biased towards liberal idealism (the press room speech is excellent and reminds me of something similar in The Contender) but who wants to watch a depiction of a right wing administration? The real thing's too horrible to experience although I'm sure it would make interesting viewing.

Benning and Douglas are well cast in terms of their realistic and believable respective ages and the potential for what would have to be a truly romantic (and ultimately sexual) chemistry.

Douglas delivers a very effective and engagingly appealing imperiousness which works well.

Fox is great as a younger man with such a high responsibility.

I had to keep pinching myself that Sheen's not Bartlett! First time I watched the film he just looked wrong but I got used to it.

Easily takes repeat viewing to fully appreciate the large number of little gems Sorkin's worked into the dialogue.

Super film
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on 21 January 2006
This is one of the best feelgood movies ever. As well as the romance between the President and the lobbyist (and Michael Douglas is more presidential than any US President ever!), it is just so FUNNY! The throwaway lines sometimes need a second or third viewing to catch all of them, especially those from Douglas as President Andrew Shepherd, Michael J Fox as Lewis Rothschild and David Paymer as Leon Kodak. And if you want an inspirational speech from a US President, listen to Andrew Shepherd's Press Conference near the end of the film. This just has to be Michael Douglas' best performance ever, the expressions on his face at time are priceless. (And Martin Sheen was brilliant too!)
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on 18 August 2005
OK maybe I'm a bit of an old romantic - but this is still a good film. For 90 minutes odd one could nearly believe that people in politics can once in a while get a backbone, and actually give a damn about we the people. Though the reality of keeping their jobs does crop its head up once in a while.
I enjoyed this because the political dialogue was at least plausible; the dialogue witty and Douglas played the part of the wooing single bloke to perfection. Bening can do no wrong in my book so I'll say nothing here period.
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on 4 January 2006
From the start you can see the story line coming a mile off but then cant you in any rom-com yet The American President manages to exceed all expectatations and still have you routing for the two to get it together, the pair have a real chemistry on screen, its deffinately douglas' finest ramantic comedy to date. You cant help but want to watch ot over and over again we all need a good old fashioned sweep you off your feet romantic ending once in a while
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on 5 February 2004
This film is a true classic. Aaron Sorkin's script is made by some great acting from Douglas and Benning. The supporting cast of Michael J Fox, Martin Sheen et al. enjoy some snappy one-liners that keep the film moving along nicely.
If you are in need of some inspiration and like a sprinkling of love & laughter then this is the film for you.
An interesting surprise is that originally Sheen was lined up to play the President but swapped with Douglas at the last minute. I think this was a good choice as Sheen in West Wing is superb but I don't think he would have hit the spot on the romantic side that makes this film.
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on 12 October 2008
This film should have been awful but is nearer to a classic.
Michael Douglas gives another top notch performance startillingly similar to all his other performances. Rather than a critisism, an acknowledgement that Michael Douglas knows what he's good at and does it very well.
Douglas and co-star Annette Benning create the irresistable on screen chemistry and illuminate an enchanting tale.
In reality The American President is more of a modern fairytale than realistic drama.
Leaves you a little sad that that is the case.
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on 31 January 2005
Well what can I say? I'm impressed. I approached with caution and was pleasantly surprised. It was funny, wit and a hell of alot smarter than your usual rom-com. Douglas and Benning worked brilliantly together but they were almost upstaged by Martin Sheen and Michael J. Fox in every scene. It's also unusual to see the american public displayed in such an accurate way. One of the best I've seen.
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on 4 August 2015
One of the most feel good films ever made. Its as simple as that. I have watched this film many times when feeling a little down and the ending is always uplifting. The entire film from start to finish is full of emotion and character. You can't help but quickly get attached to all the characters in this film, from the leads through the co-stars, each have their story to tell and all add something to the overall genius of the writing. Aaron Sorkin went on to write the incredible West Wing TV show and his touch is seen deftly here as his quick wit translates to some funny dialogue and heavy hitting speeches. I dare anyone to watch Michael Douglas perform his speech toward the end and not feel impressed.

But Douglas isn't the only actor to bring their talent to this film, with such luminaries as Annette Bening, Martin Sheen and Michael J Fox all shining. Its quite clear why Sorkin went on to ask Martin Sheen to play President Bartlet in the West Wing based on his performance as the Douglas's Chief of Staff here. The chemistry between Douglas and Bening is perfect, from her initial nervousness and qualms about dating the most powerful man in the world to her accepting and embracing it and making us all smile to see them happy together.

Finally the ending where Douglas's character, President Andrew Shepherd, after finally making a speech to the press to confront his opponent for the upcoming Presidential election who has spent the previous seven weeks slandering him and his new girlfriend walks into his State of the Union address and gets thunderous, rousing applause from everyone in the chamber is simply an emotional rush. Through the latter half of the film Shepherd's poling numbers drop away due to dating Sydney Wade, his allies in the Senate slowly turn their backs as they do not believe he has the political power to help them any more and at the end, having finally made a public announcement about his true feelings for not only his new girlfriend, but the country he serves he has turned them all around again and they show their support in the House of Representatives. With soring music all through the film its an emotional rollercoaster that's worth the ride each and every time you watch it.
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Primary a feel-good film with very good performances by Michael Douglas (rarely does he make a film that is uninteresting or bland) and Annette Benning, who I've always considered to be pretty without being stunningly beautiful and therefore isn't used nearly as much as she should be by Hollywood producers.She is extremely able without being glamorous.

Both fit their roles perfectly here and their relationship isn't too syrupy, befitting Douglas's intelligent widowed President and Benning's bright lobbyist who meet in the White House and begin dating.
This is ammunition for Richard Dreyfuss who will use any means to enhance his profile as an opposition contender in the upcoming Presidential elections.
There are some good twists and turns that happen along the way to make this an entertaining watch which I think is well suited for both a male and female audience---It is not full of action nor is it mega-romantic, it just has the right balance in my opinion.
The bonus for fans of 'The West Wing' is that the writer is Aaron Sorkin, and the terrific Martin Sheen has the role of Chief Of Staff here prior to his pivotal performance as President Bartlett in the tv series.
As I write this dvd is under a pound on Amazon.That's better than Poundland!!!!!!!!
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HALL OF FAMEon 20 February 2006
This film makes a serious effort to tackle a serious subject. How far may the electorate intrude on a public figure's private life? Michael Douglas' role of Andrew Sheppard is a modern reflection of Woodrow Wilson's nearly state-secret marriage in the latter days of his presidency. Douglas' portrayal reflects an equivalent political scene, as well. Wilson struggled with the biggest issue of his day, the League of Nations. Sheppard is seeking passage of environmental legislation. Both, confronted with the need to compromise, are in vulnerable positions. As so often with American politics, the public are led by unscrupulous politicians to overlook serious issues and target incumbents with tainted personal considerations. Wilson scandalized America with his marriage. Even later historians credited Mrs Wilson with forcing policies she favoured through an ill, weakened president.
Douglas carries his role quite suitably. He's a far cry from the austere Wilson, portraying Sheppard with a Kennedyesque panache. He amply demonstrates what a president must endure in having vital legislation adopted. The "Crime Bill" episode is reminiscent of the Kennedy brothers' efforts to curb Mafia power in the 1960s.
There is just enough of the daughter's presence to keep that issue before us, but the apparent limited age distance between her and Bening makes one wonder what this would to after the Banns are published. Douglas' initial efforts to court Bening superbly demonstrate the constraints the world's most powerful figure operates in, the florist call being one of the finer sequences. Reiner is able to balance the personal with the political. Bening's presence is more commanding than a legislative document, but her performance as a lobbyist is strong enough to keep the real issue before us. The screenplay falls just short of being truly expressive on issues. That may come, someday.
Michael J. Fox and Martin Sheen [especially the latter] turn in strong performances as presidential advisors. Sheen is vividly realistic as the long-term counsel, but Fox comes through in a climatic scene urging Sheppard to reverse an attitude. Richard Dreyfuss, however, turns in a very special performance as the petty-minded Kansas senator. Whether this is Reiner's personal assault on Bob Dole is irrelevant. Reiner deftly exposes how low American politics can sink in the hands of the uncaring. The contrast is vividly displayed in Douglas' lament over the innocent people he must destroy in exercising policy curbing terrorism. He carries it off with fine credibility. In the last analysis, this is a film worth having and re-viewing. It has a timeless quality, reflecting the feeling of hope we once had about what a human being a president could be. Perhaps it will come again. [stephen a. haines - Ottawa, Canada]
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