Reagan Doc Fresh from Sundance Premieres on HBO Tonight

Posted by at 4:51 pm on February 7, 2011

HBO has one more memento to mark the celebration of Ronald Reagan’s 100th birthday, the network’s Feb. 7 debut (9 p.m. ET/PT )of Eugene Jarecki’s documentary “Reagan” that premiered Jan. 23 at the Sundance Film Festival.

President Ronald Reagan
The two-hour “Reagan” is a view of the seemingly simple man who actually was a complex person with many faces, shifting from actor to pitchman to politician with as much ease as he moved from being a liberal Democrat to a conservative Republican.

Jarecki tells the life story unimaginatively chronogically yet deftly interveaves news footage and comments about Reagan’s personality throughout to create a deeper perspective on the man, and dwelling perhaps the longest on the Iran-Contra arms-for-hostages scandal that marred his Presidency.

Son Ron Reagan gets the most screen time and offers a very honest and loving perspective of his father, puzzling about why the President had trouble accepting certain realities like homosexuality until his friend Rock Hudson died of AIDS, expressing his disappointment in his father’s decisions about Iran-Contra but saying the President was doing it with the best intentions of serving the public, and praising his political savvy and good looks. The movie also closes with Ron’s eulogy at his father’s funeral.

Others provide fascinating reflections as well, including former Chief of Staff James A. Baker, former White House senior advisor Pat Buchanan, Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger, and several economists who remain mystified about the illogic of Reaganomics, which sparked many of the economic divides the country is still suffering from decades later.

“Reagan” is entertaining, informative, and a worthwhile reminder of the many sides of the President who has become so revered since his death after suffering through Alzheimer’s.

The movie replays  at 7:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. Feb. 11, 2:30 p.m. and midnight Feb. 16, 12:30 p.m. Feb. 21, 6 p.m. Feb. 24, and 3:45 p.m. feb. 26

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