Nixon - Oliver Stone

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Oliver Stone is nowadays being known as a legendary film director and screenwriter. Often very controversial, his work has earned him three Academy Awards. His work is most of the time focused on contemporary political and cultural issues and has a tendency to rise up controversy among its viewer's. Stone's fame began with a series of films about the Vietnam War, a subject very close to him as he himself participated to this war as an infantry soldier. But nothing brought him more success than the films in which he encapsulated the political life of the second part of the 20th century America, which was shattered by o series of not only terrible but also confusing events. He began with J.F.K, a movie that portrays one of the most mysterious and tragic moments in the history of America, the assassination of President Kennedy and the findings of Warren Commission. After J.F.K's huge success it seemed only natural to go even further, so Oliver Stone continued his work with Nixon, a film that tells the story of the political and personal life of former US President Richard Nixon. 
I personally like a lot the film but not as much as I like J.F.K. and this is not because Nixon would be a film with less interesting events in comparison with JFK, but because I think the latter has a more impersonal touch, while the former is based more on the character, on the complexity of his feelings and actions. Although Richard Nixon was not a popular and loved figure, and most of the Americans considered him a liar and a crook, Stone didn't intended to present a negative portray of Nixon, nor to sanctify him, but he attempted to find the human core of his subject. So this film is not about whether Nixon is a liar or not-because he most certainly was, as the film portrays it, but it is about Nixon as a human being and his experiences during his lifetime that have shaped him in the person he was and that motivated him in his decisions and actions.
It is said that the childhood is the most important period of a person's life because those years will influence you for the rest of your life. The way your childhood and family surroundings can follow you throughout your entire existence is clearly shown in Stone's film. The product of a severe Quaker upbringing that helps to account for his inability to express himself on an outward, physical level, Nixon is a clear example of how the ghost of your childhood can influence the way you think and act. As a child, a football player, and a suitor to his eventual wife Pat, as well as a politics man and in the end president he is clearly controlled by his infancy environment. He himself acknowledges the importance of childhood in a conversation he has with Harold referring to the kids that were killed for participating to a manifestation against the Vietnam War: "Yeah. I think that's when it starts, when you are a kid. The laughs and snubs and slights you get...because your poor or Irish or Jew or... just ugly."
His mother was the person that influenced him the most in all his decisions and actions. It was the figure that he respected and listen to the most and he always tried his best in order not to disappoint her. Throughout the movie we can see how in times of crisis or important events she appeared as to guide or sometimes draw the attention on something he wasn't doing right. Even when choosing his wife he looked for a woman that resembled his mother, strong and supporting, that is why, when meeting Pat, an exquisite copy of his maternal figure, he proposed her marriage on the first date. "Strength in this life, happiness in the other" were the words of his mother, which he tried to follow during his lifetime. We can see also how he is affected by what she says in one interview, when asked if her son would make a good president she, a woman with strong Christian beliefs answers:" If he is on God's side he will be a great president". Also, due to the Christian values thought by his mother he has a sincere love for his family, that is way, when he has to choose between politics (and a divorce) and family, he chooses the latter. He always refers to his mother as a saint and to his father as a man that had to struggle for survival his whole life.


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