LBJ Bio-Pic Draws Ovation, Two More Showings Sunday via Rush Line
The New York premiere of “LBJ,” on Saturday night in Southampton, drew a long ovation from a Hamptons International Film Festival audience. Directed by Rob Reiner, the film is a powerful biography of the 36th President of the United States, thrust into the presidency by Kennedy’s assassination in November 1963.
Woody Harrelson delivers an outstanding performance as Lyndon Johnson, an immensely powerful lawmaker whose ambition and political skill went hand in hand with a deep insecurity, as portrayed in “LBJ.” Everyone loves the Kennedys, he privately complains to his wife, Lady Bird. They don’t even like him.
Does Johnson’s insecurity border on paranoia, or does it reflect a keen recognition of political reality? A growing suspicion that he was chosen as Kennedy’s running mate to effectively sideline him, that Robert Kennedy, the attorney general, will succeed his brother in 1968, begins to cloud his thoughts and illustrates the ongoing tension between Southern Democrats and the telegenic, Ivy League-educated Kennedy brothers they disdain.
The film will be shown on Sunday at 3:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. Tickets are only available via the Rush line.
With American engagement in Vietnam growing along with the civil rights movement at home, Johnson must battle and balance competing forces. Finally in the Oval Office, he opts to side with Kennedy’s legacy, pushing Congress toward adopting the Civil Rights Act over the strenuous objection of Southern legislators, notably Richard Russell Jr. of Georgia.
Rob Reiner, who directed “LBJ,” spoke at East Hampton Middle School on Sunday afternoon. He is presently in post-production on “Shock and Awe,” in which he stars along with Mr. Harrelson, Tommy Lee Jones, James Marsden, Jessica Biel, and Mila Jovovich.