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Peter Morgan's hit play about the 1977 TV interviews between David Frost and Richard Nixon makes for a punchy political entertainment, anchored by Frank Langella's grand, mercurial performance as the angry ex-president. Frost relinquished any editorial control when he granted Morgan the rights to his story, and the movie is hardly flattering of him: it portrays Frost (Michael Sheen) as a glib entertainer unprepared for Nixon's mind games and masterly obfuscations. But in contrast to the standard legend—that Frost became a real reporter, doing his homework and nailing Nixon on Watergate—Morgan has the temerity to suggest that Frost triumphed not in spite of his showmanship but because of it. Ron Howard directed, with outstanding support from Kevin Bacon as Jack Brennan, Nixon's fierce chief of staff, and Oliver Platt and Sam Rockwell as Bob Zelnick and James Reston Jr., Frost's dogged researchers. R, 122 min.

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