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Films >> W. (2008) >>

A life misunderestimated.

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Released less than a month before the 2008 presidential election, Oliver Stone's W. follows the then-current president George W. Bush on his journey to the White House and his obstacles as president. Bush was once a privileged, out-of-touch Yale frat brother who couldn’t hold a job. However, after attending Harvard Business School, which he got into with his father’s help, Bush is elected as the governor of Texas, overcoming alcoholism and becoming a Born-Again Christian in the process. Then, after receiving a “sign from God,” he runs for president, a position he eventually wins as well. Much of the film focuses on Bush’s time in office and his extremely controversial decision to invade Iraq, which was based on erroneous information about the presence of weapons of mass destruction. Yet, as film-viewers, we are privy to not only his political motivations and interactions with cabinet members but also to tangential yet important aspects of the president’s personal life. For example, we learn about his ever-present desire to please his father, which Stone suggests to be part of the reason that Bush invaded Iraq, and his relationship with his wife Laura. Ultimately, despite Stone’s reputation as an extremely liberal filmmaker and the provocative release date of the film, W. provides a surprisingly mild criticism of the leader so many Americans vehemently opposed by the end of his second term.