From the moment I learned that First Lady was coming to Middle Tennessee, I knew what my Valentine’s plans would be – attending a matinee screening of the movie then heading over to Chuy’s for our date night meal. Unfortunately, Fred and I have been sick for the past week, so I was afraid it wouldn’t happen, but today we woke up feeling almost human, so after church we made our way to the theater.
First Lady is the very definition of a chick flick. Fred described it as “Clueless at the White House”. I think it may be a little more Legally Blonde. Whatever you call it, it’s a lot of fun.
Even though I’d seen the trailer, read the synopsis, and watched Nancy Stafford’s media interviews ahead of time, I still couldn’t figure out how First Lady could possibly pack in a President dying, the Vice President running for President, and the First Lady falling in love again all in an hour and forty one minutes. And yet, somehow, writer/director Nina May managed to pack it all in.
First Lady moves along at a brisk pace with lots of little trinkets of humor sprinkled liberally throughout. It’s billed as a comedy, so I came in expecting that. What I didn’t expect, however, were the tender dramatic moments. And the history. I’ve always held an interest in First Ladies, so I know a bit more about them than the average person. and was excited to hear Kathryn Morales (Nancy Stafford) throwing out tidbits of First Lady history.
In Nina and Nancy’s interview on the Huckabee show, Nina explained how she wanted to make a political movie that wasn’t political, and that’s exactly what she created. It’s all the fun of the political lifestyle but nothing that’s remotely divisive. It’s a fairy tale that just happens to be set in the White House.
While this is a movie that can be enjoyed by the whole family, it is probably best enjoyed by females, especially those over 40. This is the target audience who’s going to appreciate the humor the best. My favorite line in the entire movie, which had me laughing for way too long, is in a scene where Kathryn is preparing for a dinner party and President Brooks (Benjamin Dane) wants her to set two extra plates at the table. She’s horrified. She explains that you can’t just add two more people. She’s already got the seating arrangement all set up and it just won’t work. He tells her to make it work if she has to bring in a card table. That cracked me up so much because that is so typical male to think all you have to do is add a card table, and poor Kathryn is horrified by the prospect and all the extra work it is to add two more guests. I know it’s silly, but I’ve definitely been there where you’re trying to work out the logistics and it’s just not as easy as it sounds.
My favorite scene in First Lady was the Chocolate Milk Summit. What a brilliant example of diplomacy!
Cinematography-wise, I enjoyed the fun framing of the shots. I’m not a big fan of over the shoulder shots, preferring straight on shots and creative framing. I loved the scenes with Kathryn and her entourage – Channing (Stacey Dash), Macy (Jenn Gotzon), and Bailey (Melissa Temme) – creatively clustered, often having their own conversations within ear’s reach of Kathryn.
Ladies, if you’re looking for a lighthearted, fun movie, find a theater near you and check out First Lady. You may want to leave the men at home, though, as they won’t likely be able to fully appreciate the feminine humor.
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