6.8/10
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25 user 34 critic

The Special Relationship (2010)

A dramatization that traces former UK prime minister Tony Blair's relationships with Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.

Director:

Richard Loncraine

Writer:

Peter Morgan
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Nominated for 2 Golden Globes. Another 1 win & 22 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Michael Sheen ... Tony Blair
Demetri Goritsas ... Strategist
Adam Godley ... Jonathan Powell
Marc Rioufol ... Jacques Chirac
Mark Bazeley ... Alastair Campbell
Helen McCrory ... Cherie Blair
Nancy Crane ... Protocol Officer
Dennis Quaid ... Bill Clinton
John Schwab ... Reporter
Hope Davis ... Hillary Clinton
Kerry Shale ... Advisor to the Clintons
Lara Pulver ... Intern
Eric Meyers ... American Journalist
Rufus Wright Rufus Wright ... British Journalist
Matthew Marsh ... Foreign Policy Advisor
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Storyline

In 1992, Labour leader Tony Blair goes to America and is impressed by the policies of President Bill Clinton, which he uses to reshape his party. Two years later, he is invited back for an audience with Clinton, who, rightly, predicts that he will be Britain's next Prime Minister. Thus begins the 'special relationship' between the two, though Clinton is clearly the senior partner with Blair seeking his advice on Northern Ireland. The situation in Kosovo however reverses the roles as Blair forces American intervention by a reluctant president and is seen in the American media as the hero of the hour. As Clinton accuses his ally of stabbing him in the back the special relationship starts to sour and, with Clinton ultimately out of the White House, Blair takes his first photo call with the next incumbent, George W. Bush. Written by don @ minifie-1

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

From the writer of The Queen and Frost/Nixon. See more »


Certificate:

TV-14 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

HBO | HBO - Photos | See more »

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English | French

Release Date:

29 May 2010 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Untitled Peter Morgan Project See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color | Color (archive footage)| Black and White (archive footage)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

To portray former Cherie Blair, wife of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, actress Helen McCrory wore an array of wigs to reflect the years of 1996 to 2000. See more »

Goofs

When Tony Blair visits Washington in 1992, he is picked up from the airport in a 1998 Lincoln Town Car. Also visible in this scene is a 1995 Lincoln Town Car, two 1998 Ford Crown Victorias and a 1998 Mercury Grand Marquis. See more »

Quotes

Jonathan Powell: All political friendship is strategic and conditional.
See more »

Connections

Follows The Queen (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

Lonely Blue Boy
Written by Benjamin Weisman and Fred Wise
Performed by Conway Twitty
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User Reviews

 
An insightful drama.
14 August 2010 | by Troy_CampbellSee all my reviews

British actor Michael Sheen portrays real-life figures with an eerie degree of precision. In 2008 he took on the tricky part of down-and-out journo David Frost in Frost/Nixon and absolutely nailed it. Then last year he delivered a remarkable performance as hubristic English soccer coach Brian Clough in the lesser seen drama The Damned United. Now in his the third time depicting the former U.K. PM (first in telemovie The Deal, then in the Helen Mirren-starring The Queen) he mimics Blair's mannerisms, vocal tones and overall personality so perfectly that Blair himself couldn't play the role as well.

As the title would suggest though, this drama follows a relationship, which requires a second party. Step in Dennis Quaid as Bill Clinton. He doesn't convince on the same level as Sheen – Clinton's highly distinguishable accent evades Quaid to begin with – but it's not long before the seasoned actor gets in a groove and solidly embodies the beguiling American. Helen McCrory and Hope Davis don't have any difficulty managing their supporting characters, the former as Cherie Blair and the latter as Hillary Clinton. Davis especially is pitch perfect as the intriguing and somewhat imperious U.S. first lady.

Although, predictably, the movie lives and dies by its performances, the screenplay is clever enough to display these people in events that will allow us to connect with them. In the opening act we see how these two world leaders – Clinton the suavely aggressive big brother, Blair the amenable and awestruck little brother – became friends, then we move on to how they dealt with this 'special relationship' during good times and bad. It's a tremendous friendship to witness, how they and their wives react to certain situations, the Lewinsky humiliation of particular note, indicates what we have probably suspected all along: they are, despite their global status and positions of power, human after all.

An insightful drama that invites you into the lives of some very fascinating people.

4 out of 5 (1 - Rubbish, 2 - Ordinary, 3 - Good, 4 - Excellent, 5 - Classic)


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