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Swing Vote (2008)

Kevin Costner and Madeline Carroll are father and daughter, and are what carry the movie.

Kevin Costner and Madeline Carroll are father and daughter, and are what carry the movie.

Frank Capra was one of the best directors the world ever had, and I feel he would have liked the movie Swing Vote. It does not have all of the Capra skill, but it surely has the Capra spirit.

Set in New Mexico, the movie tells the story of Bud Johnson (played to perfection by Kevin Costner). A basic average nobody, he forgets to show up to the polling station and pick up his fifth grade daughter Molly (Madeline Carroll, who outshines all the veteran actors). She tries to vote for him (she is a big political junkie whose class speech was read on the news), but the machine messes up, and it does not count.

Well, wouldn’t you know that President Andrew Boone(Kelsey Grammar) is tied 270-270 with his democratic opponent Donald Greenleaf (the late Dennis Hopper) and it all comes down to New Mexico, and Bud’s vote. How believable it is that this could happen, I don’t know. Yet the movie is so sure of itself and its energy that I was almost forced to believe it. We see each side doing all they can to persuade Bud for their vote (the republican campaign manager is Stanley Tucci, and the democratic is Nathan Lane, and both do very well). This resorts to football, card playing, and a concert of Willie Nelson music (who also gets a cameo).

Parents, there is mainly just swearing, but that is it. Middle school and above are fine seeing it (although they may need to have it explained that this is not always how politics work).

The movie is not perfect: I felt the speech given by Costner at the end was a bit too much, but it is still worth seeing.

Overall: 3 Stars ***

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