Execrable. Anita Hill as Jesus Christ, Clarence Thomas as Impenetrable Sphinx, the story so stacked in her favor it’s a liberal wet dream. Then, there is this laughable coda where the hard charging female Kennedy aide says to the more judicious female Biden aide, “who’d you believe, him or her?” like any response other than “her” was possible given the hagiography that preceded the exchange.
Not only is the mythology laughable (apparently, Anita Hill will be replacing someone on currency sooner than we think), but the presentation is lackluster and vanilla. It’s not Kerry Washington’s fault that Hill is so dull. She’s written as nothing more than a platitudinous victim, and her emotional response to any given development is a self-pitying, dew-eyed disappointment in how mankind has failed her. Wendell Pierce’s Thomas is no better, occasionally rising above catatonic, always in the corner, ruminating, obsessing, zzzzzzzzzzz. The Democrats are hands-tied, decent truth-seekers, the Republicans hysterical street brawlers, not a scene surprising or enlightening.
It’s a shame. The story of Hill and Thomas is, in the seams, the story of two people who worked together, she relied on him for advancement, but clearly developed a grudge at some point. He said some Long Dong Silver shit to her, and then she, for whatever reason, took her shot at him on the eve of his confirmation, with the naively hopeful guarantee of anonymity.
And then wham! She’s outed (a mere anonymous statement will not stop the Hope from Pinpoint, Georgia) and the process takes them both to places they never imagined they’d be, where he must play a hard race card against a cheap smear, and she must feign dramatic victimhood. Their champions bloody and bruise the protagonists.
She tried a back alley stilleto and it wasn’t enough. He replied with a daylight, streetfront 2×4 and overcame. They both became emblems of something larger, which, given the picayune roots of their antagonism, is the essence of the tragicomic.
Could have been a great movie.