The story of King George VI of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, his impromptu ascension to the throne and the speech therapist who helped the unsure monarch become worthy of it.
Helena Bonham Carter
In October, 1962, U-2 surveillance photos reveal that the Soviet Union is in the process of placing nuclear weapons in Cuba. These weapons have the capability of wiping out most of the Eastern and Southern United States in minutes if they become operational. President John F. Kennedy and his advisors must come up with a plan of action against the Soviets. Kennedy is determined to show that he is strong enough to stand up to the threat, and the Pentagon advises U.S. military strikes against Cuba--which could lead the way to another U.S. invasion of the island. However, Kennedy is reluctant to follow through, because a U.S. invasion could cause the Soviets to retaliate in Europe. A nuclear showdown appears to be almost inevitable. Can it be prevented? Written by
In the early briefing scene where Arthur Lundahl, director of the CIA's National Photographic Interpretation Center, shows a map of the missiles' range, the town of Oxford, Miss., is one of the targets. All other targets were major US cities. This was not an error. It's not clear whether the joke started with the Kennedys or the CIA, but in any case President John F. Kennedy was still smarting from the previous month's riots in Oxford, which put him at cross-purposes with a recalcitrant segregationist Gov. Ross Barnett of Mississippi and some US army generals -- notably Gen. Edwin Walker -- whose hesitation to dispatch troops to northern Mississippi bordered on insubordination. Kennedy was said to have quipped "Can they hit Oxford?" when told about the missiles. See more »
In one of the scenes showing the deck of a Soviet cargo ship, Latin (non-Cyrillic) lettering can be seen on the ship. See more »
The Godfather of political thrillers. Magnificent!
This is The Godfather of political thrillers. Magnificent! Until the final frames - when JFK addresses the White House staff - I expected another critical problem to emerge. These `wrinkles' kept me perched on the edge of my seat. I was naïve and 11 at the time. This is a movie not to be missed.
The President's Special Assistant (Kenny O'Donnell aka Kevin Costner) tells the story. He connects you intimately to the Kennedy White House, the early 60s military machinery balanced against faith and family. Every emotion kicks into gear over the course of the film. At the end of the day, you're thankful the man in the oval office was a smart fellow. We need smart people in that office.
There's a thing called `heart' sprinkled liberally throughout. Performances are thoroughly believable, as though this is unfolding here and now. Greenwood and Culp are plausible Kennedy brothers after all their predecessors, a tough job given the liberal supply of Kennedy film. Your heart pours out for the insiders who knew how close the world came to the brink. Then please, join me in becoming a little cynical about the government's `world safety' report veracity going forward. Thirteen Days shows you why the government, the press, and the people need to be in constant check and balance to be effective.
A football metaphor weaves effectively through the film, though the teams are cliquish at best. Ex-Harvard quarterback Kenny O'Donnell now serves as a linebacker for the Kennedy team. He's an insider; close a (near-family) friend. In a crisis, loyalty and teamwork to America's quarterback (JFK) is the prescription for sanity. War zealots surround and abound. Someone needs the cooler head to be the wiser man in a world where warfare is being redefined with weapons of annihilation.
Minutia: There's always something for a fanatic like me. I spotted a bowl of Post's fruity Pebbles cereal at the O'Donnell breakfast table in the closing minutes. I don't think these had been invented yet. The thing is: If I have to dig `that deep' to find flaws with the film's presentation quality, it's a pretty darned good. I am sure there are historical flaws, but this is close enough for government work.
I'm still naïve, but no longer 11 years old. Movies have to be well made / well told to satisfy. An entertainment adventure you will enjoy no matter your age, gender, race, religion or political persuasions. It rates 9 out of 10 possible points. But unlike its Godfather intensity, I hope there's never a sequel to this one.
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