I recently streamed The American President on Netflix. I was so thrilled to
find this movie available for streaming on Netflix (US) because it’s one of my favorite romantic films and I haven’t seen it in a very long time. I first
watched The American President in my pre-teens in VCD (remember those days?) when my Dad bought me a copy. He also loved the movie (he had really good taste in movies) and thought I’d enjoy watching it too.
The American President is a 1995 romantic comedy-drama about a widowed US President and a lobbyist. It’s all aboveboard but “politics is perception” and sparks fly anyway. – IMDB.com
First off, I thought this was a very well written story and also quite different from a lot of other romantic films I’ve seen being a romantic film that’s weaved into politics. Andrew Shepherd (Michael Douglas), the widowed
President is up for a re-election, one which he was set to win on a walk given his approval ratings… that is of course until he and Sydney Ellen Wade (Annette Bening) start dating.
Given that it’s also a romantic comedy film, their characters have their own
meet-cute story at the White House.
“Men like being insulted by women,” says Esther MacInerney, after the
latter shared her surprise at being asked out on a date by the President whom she had insulted earlier on in the day.
Annette Bening and Michael Douglas are so adorable together in this film! He looked at her like she was the most beautiful woman he’d ever laid his eyes on right from the start and she was so cute all embarrassed, caught insulting the most powerful man in the world right in his own house then again when she mistook him for someone else on the phone and gave yet again another inappropriate remark.
“I forgot to tell you today what a nice ass you have,” she said to him
and then hangs up.
You will definitely have a few chuckles at the early parts of this film as you
watch them try wade the waters of the dating pool. And as the movie’s story
progresses and you watch the sparks fly between them, you’ll definitely feel
the kilig (romantic excitement).
I also liked the political side of this movie. It has such strong supporting
characters with Michael J. Fox playing Lewis Rothchild, the President’s senior domestic policy advisor and Martin Sheen, A.J. MacInerney, the President’s Chief of Staff.
The President’s approval ratings on an election year is very important and
Shepherd’s starts to go downhill when his opponent, Bob Rumson, starts with character assassinations. His refusal to engage on character debate and comment on his love life with Sydney didn’t help matters either, leaving his staff frustrated as they scramble to take control of the media
The spiels are very notable as they are very much applicable in real
Lewis Rothchild: People want leadership, Mr. President, and in the
absence of genuine leadership they’ll listen to anyone who steps up to the
microphone. They want leadership. They’re so thirsty for it they’ll crawl
through the desert toward a mirage. When they discover there’s no water there,
they’ll drink the sand.
President Andrew Shepherd: Lewis, we’ve had presidents who were
beloved, who couldn’t find a coherent sentence with two hands and a
flashlight. People don’t drink the sand because they’re thirsty.
They drink the sand because they don’t know the difference.
A.J MacInerney: The President doesn’t answer to you, Lewis!
Lewis Rothchild: Oh, yes he does, A.J. I’m a citizen, this is my
President. And in this country it is not only permissible to question our
leaders, it’s our responsibility!
Of course I heard the spiels before as I’ve seen The American President
numerous times in the past but I was still very young then to really
understand the meaning. So only when I re-watched it now that I truly got what they meant specially the latter which is so applicable to the state of our country right now. If you’re a Filipino, you’d know the arguments of the
“Puro kayo reklamo.” (All you do is complain)
“Hanap kayo ng hanap sa Presidente.” (Why do you keep looking for the President?) In answer to the normal Filipino’s question which has been asked countless times now while in the midst of a pandemic and during calamities “Nasaan ang Presidente?” (Where is the President?)
As a citizen of the Philippines, it is our responsibility to question our
leaders and not be blind followers. After all, the future of our country, our
future is on their hands.
Lastly, this quote from A.J MacInerney:
Oh you only fight the fights you can win? You fight the fights that need
And this is true whether in politics or in any other aspect of our lives. We
fight the fights that need fighting.
Watching The American President as an adult gave me new appreciation for this film. It’s no surprise that it received such rave reviews. It’s romance is warm; the spiels are intelligently written and witty and the casting is
I leave you this final speech from President Shepherd which is seriously worth applauding that he’d no doubt win re-election year.
My name is Andrew Shepherd and I am the President!