A few weeks ago, I attended a table read of the upcoming ...
Authored By Amy Lutz
April 28, 2016
A few weeks ago, I attended a table read of the upcoming film “Reagan,” starring Will Ferrell in the title role. The read featured prominent actors like Josh Brolin, Nathan Fillion, Chris Parnell, and Dennis Haysbert in the roles of prominent Reagan advisors, both real and fictional. Although I was impressed with the talent of the actors participating in the table read, and the occasional wit of the script, the entire screenplay is detached from reality. It portrays President Reagan as the caricature that college professors often paint of him: a bumbling, forgetful man, wrestling in the throes of Alzheimer’s & beholden to “devious” advisors (Oliver North in particular).
Rather than portraying President Reagan as the leader who defeated the Soviet Union and saved our economy from the brink of collapse, the script depicts the 40th president as nothing more than a clown. Furthermore, it pokes fun at the horrors of Alzheimer’s Disease, an affliction that has affected millions throughout the world. The screenplay evokes laughs from the (fictional) Reagan’s forgetfulness instead of highlighting the difficulties of the disease.
Students today are often not given an accurate view of historical figures, conservative ones in particular. Many textbooks and college professors imply that President Reagan fell victim to Alzheimer’s before his presidency ended, rather than a few years following, which is what actually occurred. Thus, they use this fiction to undercut the president’s accomplishments late in his tenure. “Reagan” latched on to this narrative and formed an entire film around it.
The screenplay, though written to be a humorous satire, rather makes light of Alzheimer’s and undercuts President Reagan’s accomplishments in his second term.