I watched this one last night and was VERY impressed. Brian Cranston of BREAKING BAD fame plays Lyndon Johnson in the first year of his unexpected presidency, and brings the titanic Texas politician back to life very convincingly!
The movie opens on the plane back from Dallas, as LBJ realizes that he is now President of the United States - an accidental President, to be sure, but a President nonetheless, with less than one year to build up enough political support to win election in his own right and become more than an accident of history.
A great part of the movie focuses on the struggle to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Johnson's artful playing of Congress, and his complex relationship with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. While Johnson is portrayed as a vulgar but heroic man, working to the point of exhaustion trying to correct a century and more of injustice and discrimination, the movie does not shy away from his flaws - his arrogance, crudity, and willingness to bend truth to serve his agenda.
As a conservative, I have a mixed view of Johnson - his support of Civil Rights was nothing short of heroic, enabling the nation to finally fulfill the promise of equality made in the Fourteenth Amendment after the Civil War. On the other hand, many of his Great Society programs did not solve the problems they set out to fix and may have made them worse. But I do believe that he was a fundamentally decent person trying hard to do the right thing. This movie captures that aspect of him well.
Filled with a brilliant supporting cast and gorgeous sets, this movie is a great history lesson as well as an entertaining film experience. Highly recommended for the history buff or anyone else!