Sarah Palin Movie: 'Game Change' is Unrealistic and Offensive


An HBO film titled Game Change is due to air Saturday on the Reelz Channel. It follows John McCain's 2008 presidential campaign to his defeat in the general election. Before its premier though, a preview was released to the general public.

It begins with McCain's advisors strategizing about their next move. The Arizona Senator is in jeopardy of losing the general election to Obama. The “game changer” turns out to be his selection of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate. At first, she seems to play a positive influence on his campaign. The support she had gained from many conservatives proved to be an invaluable asset. A CNN poll revealed that at one point during the race, McCain was tied with Obama.

But then things soon turned sour for Palin, as we know. A series of events tarnished her reputation. Her ABC News interview with correspondant Charlie Gibson, where she mistakes Alaska's geographical proximity to Russia, is a blunder that damages her name. The documentary suggests that it is at this moment that she feels the overwhelming political pressures and burdens. What happens next is disturbing and alarming. It appears that she is on the verge of a nervous breakdown. The atmosphere changes dramatically. Eerie music plays in the background as Palin says “I miss my baby. I miss sleeping with my baby,” shaking her head in dismay and frustration. Next appears a still image of her unconscious on the floor.

The preview paints Palin as a pawn of McCain's campaign team. She is manipulated to become what the advisers want her to be. Even if you are not a Palin supporter, you can't help but sympathize for her slow descent to madness. However, every sane individual knows that is simply based off a true story, and not the true story. It is nothing more than another Hollywood story that dramatizes the portrayal of the former vice presidential nominee.

Honestly, if Palin wanted to escape her traumatically painful past, she would not make herself a public figure. After the election, she wrote a best-selling memoir, agreed to allow her daughter to participate in Dancing with the Stars, went on a national speaking tour, and continued to press her political ideals on Fox News. She was anything but out of the limelight. The film is compelling, but far too unrealistic to take seriously. I think that people who followed the campaign as I had would share my opinion that the events and character of the protagonists were not accurately captured. 

Another scene I have a problem with is when Palin states that she single-handedly carried the campaign. Not only is this statement false but it is simply outrageous. McCain's refusal to end the Iraq war, his disagreeable positions on issues like abortion and offshore drilling, his volcanic temper and public dissatisfaction with the Bush administration are all factors that damaged his campaign. None of these however, were highlighted within the trailer. Palin also has her fair share of stumbles and blunders as the film illustrates, but she is not solely responsible for his campaign's victories and losses. 

I don't consider this to be a film about politics, but rather a poorly engineered sob story. Palin is cast in an unflattering light, portrayed as a woman professionally unqualified and personally unprepared for the national stage. Although I have not seen it, I know that the parts where I'm supposed to feel sympathetic for Palin will be the moments that I will burst out laughing. I predict the film will be extremely exaggerated, inconsistent with the campaign's timeline.

Photo Credit: sskennel