I have followed the Valerie Plame Wilson story since Joe Wilson’s op-ed in the New York Times in 2003.
I’ve read Mrs. Wilson’s book Fair Game and I enjoyed it as much as I could. The CIA had her redact almost one-third of her book, legitimately fearing exposing over seas operatives and for some other, rather mundane reasons.
The movie Fair Game had it’s debut at the Cannes Film Festival last week. In my opinion, it’s about time!
Bringing the Valerie Plame affair to the silver screen, director Doug Liman explores the abuse of power in Washington.
When columnist Robert Novak unveiled Valerie Plame as a CIA undercover operative in his syndicated column in 2003, Plame reportedly confessed to a friend, “I didn’t plan for this day.” It would be safe to say that she also didn’t plan on a red-carpet world premiere for Fair Game, a film based on her story starring Naomi Watts and Sean Penn, at the Cannes Film Festival. Or the standing ovations both she and the film received at the gala black-tie screening on Thursday evening. “What a night!” Plame exclaimed to NEWSWEEK after the event.
And what a movie. In Fair Game, director Doug Liman bravely tackles the now well-known story of how Plame’s husband, former career diplomat Joseph Wilson, wrote an op-ed in The New York Times accusing President George W. Bush of knowingly lying in his State of the Union address about the presence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, and how, in return, White House officials leaked Plame’s true identity to the media. As MSNBC’s Chris Matthews reportedly told Wilson, Karl Rove declared, “Wilson’s wife is fair game.”
But instead of mounting a play-by-play of the political scandal again, Liman and the film’s two screenwriters, Jez and John-Henry Butterworth, wisely decided to focus on how the media and political maelstrom affected both Plame and Wilson personally. As a result, the film is a crisp snapshot of Washington players, a rarity for Hollywood; critics in Cannes immediately began to compare it to Alan Pakula’s masterful All the President’s Men.