The Special Relationship (2010)

| 8 August , 2010 | Reply

Keeva Stratton, Quip Creative

Directed by: Richard Loncraine
Starring: Michael Sheen, Dennis Quaid, Helen McCrory

Named after a term used to describe a key political partnership, The Special Relationship is a political drama that aims to recount the inner workings of the famed Clinton/Blair relationship. History tells us that this coming together of Western superpowers forged a political union that would truly impact global politics, initially in a progressive manner; but interestingly, it was also this relationship that would pave the way for the later Blair/Bush union, the impact of which was arguably far more destructive.

According to the film, in the late 1990s these leaders of the Western World found common ground in leftist ideologies and a resolve for improved global conditions. They formed a personally strong and publicly united force that served to create significant shifts in the political paradigm of the post-conservative Thatcher and Major era in Britain. While Clinton and Blair were riding high on their own successes, it becomes ominously clear that both would eventually falter – one through personal indiscretion and the other through political misjudgment – and it was their wives who were left to endure the full aftermath of their decisions. Just as it seemed that a new era of progressivism was to take hold, along came a woman named Monica Lewinksy, who, along with her blue dress, was about to turn world politics on its head and bring a political force to its knees (no pun intended).

What makes this film appealing to a wide audience is that it is able to maintain various points of interest. Those wanting to gain a greater appreciation of the back room political dealings will find value in this dramatised retelling. But to me, one of the more appealing elements is that the film also offers a voyeuristic glimpse into the troubled world of Hillary Clinton, as the tired wife in the public eye, the mother wanting to protect her children, the key advisor of a dependent man, and indeed the victim of an affair and subsequent vicious media campaign.

Blair also has his share of problems. At first he is depicted as being charismatic, if not a little wet behind the ears, but he soon experiences the intoxicating effects of political populism, which he ultimately finds more tempting than remaining true to his left-wing agenda. Some will find this depiction controversial, and clearly one that favours Clinton; however, others will be sadly reminded of the opportunity that was lost through Clinton\’s downfall – and how what promised to be the dawning of a renewed leftist age of politics soon succumbed again to conservatism, thanks largely to Clinton\’s marring of faith in his party and Blair\’s desire to remain in the spotlight.

The final scene – taken from actual footage – will leave you with much to ponder regarding what could have been; and it is a poignant end to a film that offers perhaps more than a little food for thought about how the right dress really can shift the course of history.

The Special Relationship is in cinemas from August 5.


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Category: Film & TV

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