John Travolta plays Democratic presidential candidate Jack Stanton, but let’s not beat around the bush, he’s playing Bill Clinton. It used to be that we had to wait 20 years for the fictionalization of history — now that gap seems to have closed to less than five years. Kinda sad. But also kinda entertaining!
“Primary Colors” is powerful. Travolta does an incredibly convincing Clinton imitation and Emma Thompson is likable as the Hillary-like smarter half of the duo. Kathy Bates is the most engaging as the lesbian close friend of the Stantons with the moral conscience. Billy Bob Thornton is also a gas as the James Carville-like Southerner with the best lines.
This inside fictionalized view of the 1992 race for the Democratic nomination is at once entertaining and depressing — it exposes politics raw. It’s not unlike the feeling one experiences after seeing first-hand how meat is prepared in a slaughterhouse. Yes, it’s disgusting and necessary viewing.