I saw Frost/Nixon this afternoon at the reduced rate of $7. The movie was worth the time and money. I don’t know much about Nixon beyond the loss in the debates to Kennedy because he looked tired and the Watergate “blemish.” And I’ve never cared much about Nixon as his time was before my time. Regardless, the movie does a good job of doing what it set out to do – get me up to speed on what I need to know about Watergate to have an appreciation for the significance of Frost’s devastating interview.
Frost/Nixon frames President Nixon as a smart, calculating and well advised individual who was, for most of the movie, a more than worthy adversary for the fumbling Frost. But what is revealed in the final interview – the interview about Watergate – the interview where Frost gets his act together – is a weakened and regretful, but no less dedicated, Nixon. His face shows the burden carried by a man who has failed a country.
It was at this point that I thought how nearly impossible it must be for any president, good or bad, worthy or not, republican or democrat to carry the burden of their actions – and the effects those actions have on the American people. The presidency is an official office and the president is an official. No matter how regimented of an approach the man elected to that position takes, his conscience must be incredibly heavy at any moment. I’m not sure I would want to be in that position.