The Kennedys – miniseries

Very well crafted/acted/etc.  Netnet:  it makes Papa Joe out to be a scumbag, Jack to be complicated, and Bobby to be idealistic and the best person amongst them.  All likely true/accurate.

It covers, perhaps even focuses on, the well-documented-if-not-well-publicized scandals which will upset all the right people but is done fairly:  the bootlegging, stock speculating, cheating at Harvard, mob help stealing the 1960 election, the affairs, the hidden medical problems, the drugs, and so on.  One scandal I did not know about:  in Jack’s first congressional race, Papa Joe got a 3rd guy put on the ballot that had the same name as JFK’s opponent, to split the Italian vote.  Same name!

Much of the of dialogue between the family members is invented, in ways that may not be fair, delving into the relationships between the patriarch and the rest of the family in not-so-flattering ways.  It’s not the first movie to do so and presumably no one in the family was taking contemporaneous notes they intended to share with historians… but was it all necessary? Was it researched/sourced properly or invented out of whole cloth? At times it felt egregious. (I enjoyed it! But makes it less historical-ish and more novel-ish.)

Maybe one could complain they highlighted the scandals while downplaying the “greatness”, but I don’t think so especially in light of all the hagiographies already committed to celluloid.  (…and the absence of greatness.)  Either that line of criticism or “invented dialogue” are the only potentially reasonable objections.  Shame on the History Channel and others for shelving the project.

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One Response to The Kennedys – miniseries

  1. NealDewing says:

    “…absence of greatness.”
    I like your style.

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