Confirmation

Not rated yet!
Director
Rick Famuyiwa
Runtime
1 h 50 min
Release Date
16 April 2016
Genres
Drama, History
Overview
Judge Clarence Thomas' nomination to the United States' Supreme Court is called into question when former colleague, Anita Hill, testifies that he had sexually harassed her.
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The Federalist Staff2
The Federalist



(Reviewers' Site/Bio)

  • 3 Major Problems With 'Confirmation,' HBO's Anita Hill History Rewrite
    Some of us are old enough to remember the Clarence Thomas Supreme Court confirmation battle. We were shocked when reports first surfaced that Thomas, a well-regarded former chairman of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, was being accused of sexual harassment. But then we heard his accuser’s ever-changing and uncorroborated testimony, and we compared it with the testimony of a dozen close female colleagues who effusively praised Thomas as a boss known for how well he treated the women around him. We learned that his accuser Anita Hill’s testimony was contradicted by data and evidence. Thomas won his confirmation battle. By the end of the confirmation hearing, surveys of the American people showed overwhelming disbelief in Hill’s claims. Some partisans who strongly oppose Clarence Thomas politically have spent the intervening 25 years trying to shade those hearings and the evidence they uncovered in a light less favorable to Thomas and more favorable to Hill. Jane Mayer and Jill Abramson wrote a scandalously unfair book on the matter. Debuting this past weekend on HBO, “Confirmation” — described as a “fictionalized look” at one dramatic part of the 1991 Clarence Thomas Supreme Court nomination hearings — is the latest in this unrelenting push to rewrite history. The movie is fictionalized, of course, and notable for its selective use of information to paint an unfavorable view of Thomas. But many in the media are treating it as if the movie is legitimate. Others don’t seem to realize how fantastical the movie is. Brian Tallerico ended his negative review of the film by writing, “It is a recounting of events, which is historically important, but, as filmmaking, it’s just fine.” But it’s not a recounting of events, and certainly not a remotely faithful recounting of events. Here are a few things to keep in mind as we endure Round 417 of Operation Rewrite History. 1) Maliciously Negligent Storytelling Brookings Institution senior fellow Stuart Taylor was a reporter covering the hearings. He wrote a piece for The Wall Street Journal that details some of the major omissions and manipulations the movie makes. Hill’s claim was that Thomas pestered her for dates and spoke to her in a sexually explicit manner. Thomas strenuously denied any and all charges. The movie ignored how dramatically Hill’s testimony changed over the course of Thomas’ confirmation hearings, as well as her claim that FBI agents had told her that was okay. The FBI agents said they never told her that. It ignored the five times Hill denied being told something by a Democratic staffer that she later admitted, under oath, she’d been told. It didn’t mention that Hill claimed she followed Thomas from one job to another because she feared losing her job. In fact, she was a career employee in the federal government, known to her to be an incredibly secure job. The movie presents her claim — that she followed him from one job to the next because he briefly stopped harassing her — as plausible. The movie suggests that the many phone calls she made to Thomas over the years after they ceased being colleagues were just professional, despite evidence, such as a note from a secretary recounting Hill’s purpose in calling as, “Just called to say hello. Sorry she didn’t get to see you last week.” The movie presents an employee he’d fired for using a homophobic slur as being a credible witness. That witness is portrayed in the movie as being pressured against testifying by then-Judiciary Committee Chairman Joe Biden. What the movie leaves out is that he didn’t want her to testify because multiple, former colleagues were prepared to testify that she’d specifically vowed revenge on Thomas for the firing, which would make her a laughably bad witness. The other “corroborating witness” claimed that Hill had told her all about the harassment she suffered in a phone call which, it turned out, took place before Hill even worked for Thomas. And rather than show the dozen female colleagues effusively praising Thomas with still-memorable testimony in favor of Thomas, it shows one, along with two male witnesses. It’s worth watching this brief montage of the highlights from those women, since you won’t see anything like it in “Confirmation.” Their testimony is riveting: 2) Woefully Undeserved Praise of Anita Hill Played by the talented Kerry Washington, HBO’s version of Anita Hill is a brave warrior fighting against the epidemic of sexual harassment in the workplace. It’s worth comparing that with the real-life Hill. Apart from her inability to substantiate her claims of sexual harassment, she has a curious habit of downplaying actual sexual harassment when it’s done by Democratic politicians. Consider the comments she made regarding Bill Clinton’s sexual harassment of women such as Paula Jones, Kathleen Willey, and Monica Lewinsky. Hill has a curious habit of downplaying actual sexual harassment when it’s done by Democratic politicians. Appearing on “Meet the Press” in 1998, Hill was asked to respond to Gloria Steinem’s defense of President Clinton following allegations he’d groped a White House volunteer. Steinem had said, “The truth is that even if the allegations are true, the president is not guilty of sexual harassment. He is accused of having made a gross, dumb and reckless pass at a supporter during a low point in her life.” Hill agreed, saying the volunteer didn’t claim the behavior was “severe, ongoing, or pervasive enough that it became a condition of her employment.” She then went through a list of presidents who had been sexually unfaithful in office before noting that it was a shame that Americans were learning of Clinton’s infidelities while he was in office: “For President Clinton, he’s going to suffer a disadvantage because it is now that these allegations are coming out, during his presidency. But I think what Ms. Steinem also says is we have to look at the totality of the presidency and how has he been on women’s issues generally? Is he our best bet, notwithstanding some behavior that we might dislike? I don’t think that most women have come to the point where we’ve said, “Well this is so bad that even if he is better on the bigger issues, we can’t have him as president.'” Here’s the video of that exchange: When “Meet the Press” host Tim Russert asked her if she had a double standard for sexual harassment claims made against Clinton, she said, “There are larger issues, larger issues than just individual behavior.” Hill’s sentiment was expressed more memorably by journalist Nina Burleigh: “I would be happy to give [Clinton] a blowjob just to thank him for keeping abortion legal. I think American women should be lining up with their presidential kneepads on to show their gratitude for keeping the theocracy off our backs.” When asked about Paula Jones’ sexual harassment case against Clinton, which was eventually settled out of court when Clinton paid her $850,000, Hill pooh-poohed the case. She said her claim didn’t meet the standard necessary, including no harm to her career. Of course, Hill never claimed that against Thomas either. She never filed a civil suit or sought a restraining order against him. She had no supporting evidence to substantiate her claims, which almost derailed a Supreme Court nomination. In an interview last week with the discredited Rolling Stone — the magazine that was forced to retract their article, “A Rape on Campus,” on account of it having been made up — Hill sang a different tune yet again saying, “We’ve got to make the decision that we’re going to reject people who behave badly, who are sexually abusive.” Russert’s question about double standards comes to mind again. 3) The Unrelenting Push to Change History Partisans have never quite gotten over their inability to derail Justice Thomas’s appointment to the Supreme Court. “Confirmation” isn’t even the first one-sided TV movie about the saga. Showtime did one in 1999 based on the book by Jane Mayer and Jill Abramson. Jane Mayer, who has elevated unfair hit pieces to an art form, is known in recent years for her campaigns against the Koch brothers. Abramson was recently let go as executive editor of The New York Times and is now writing for The Guardian. A favorite recent column is her March 28 piece headlined, “This may shock you: Hillary Clinton is fundamentally honest.” Speaking of Hillary Clinton, Mayer is apparently cozy enough with her people to tip her off to unpublished stories in The New York Times (where Mayer’s husband is the Washington editor). Partisans have never quite gotten over their inability to derail Justice Thomas’s appointment to the Supreme Court. The original story was pushed by Nina Totenberg, easily NPR’s most biased reporter. As one great journalist put it, “I think the thing that I would criticize Nina for is that she is simply a partisan.” She is perhaps most well-known for wishing a Republican senator would get AIDS, but her bias is usually much more subtle and nuanced. Totenberg, a Supreme Court reporter, is known for her friendships with liberal activists and judges. Her activism on the Anita Hill story won her all the awards that journalists love to bestow on one another, as well as the disrespect from those who wish the media weren’t so in the tank on abortion and other progressive causes. Even though the public overwhelmingly believed Thomas and his bevy of supporting witnesses over Hill, the media never got over his confirmation. The media and progressives never hid their belief that Thomas, a black man with views they don’t think black men should be allowed to have, is dangerous. Whether they even believed Hill’s claims is uncertain. What is certain is that they have used those discredited claims in their campaign to defame the man. It would simply be sad if it weren’t so damaging. Hill is doing a round of media interviews to promote the film, and Totenberg and Abramson are happy to talk about it as well. The folks who don’t get the special treatment offered to political allies are so appalled by the fiction being passed off as history that they’re threatening legal action. As one Twitter user noted: Ironic that the Anita Hill HBO movie tag line includes the phrase “to change history.” neontaster (@neontaster) March 23, 2016 That is the goal of such productions. Revise the facts to fit the narrative and rewrite history. They did it with the laughably bad reimagining of Dan Rather’s demise, and they do it here. But after 25 years of this crap, enough is enough. ]]>
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    (Review Source)
  • Everything That HBO Isn't Telling You About the Anita Hill Story
    Everything That HBO Isn’t Telling You About the Anita Hill Story April 21, 2016 By The Federalist Staff Mark Paoletta was a lawyer in the Bush White House working on the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas. Paoletta joined the Federalist Radio Hour to set history’s record straight in light of the new HBO movie, “Confirmation.” The politically-charged drama tells the story of Anita Hill’s allegations of sexual harassment against Thomas, and as a close spectator of the case, Paoletta says the movie is historically inaccurate. “What the film does, is tries to rewrite history to make her more credible,” he said. “It leaves out lots of her implausible claims and explanations.” “Confirmation” portrays Hill as a reluctant witness who the Senate just finds and contacts out of nowhere. “Anita is the person, in my opinion, who set this rumor in motion,” Paoletta said. “We know, based on an independent investigation, that she called a friend in Washington who was a well-connected lawyer…and released her to spread this rumor.” It seems that the timing of this movie aligns well with the war on women narrative that many presidential candidates have been campaigning on. “In my view, it was ‘let’s drop [the movie] into the middle the 2016 presidential election year and help Hillary Clinton’,” he said. Listen now: Photo ANITA Anita Hill Clarence Thomas Federalist Radio Hour HBO Podcast Copyright © 2017 The Federalist, a wholly independent division of FDRLST Media, All Rights Reserved. googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-1463670073398-2'); }); window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({mode:'thumbs-2r', container:'taboola-below-main-column-mix', placement:'below-main-column', target_type:'mix'}); window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({flush:true}); 0 Comments /* * * CONFIGURATION VARIABLES: EDIT BEFORE PASTING INTO YOUR WEBPAGE * * */ var disqus_shortname = 'thefederalist23'; // required: replace example with your forum shortname /* * * DON'T EDIT BELOW THIS LINE * * */ (function() { var dsq = document.createElement('script'); dsq.type = 'text/javascript'; dsq.async = true; dsq.src = '//' + disqus_shortname + '.disqus.com/embed.js'; (document.getElementsByTagName('head')[0] || document.getElementsByTagName('body')[0]).appendChild(dsq); })(); Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus. comments powered by Disqus ]]>
    ...
    (Review Source)

Armond White1
The National Review / OUT



(Reviewers' Site/Bio)

  • Confirmation: High-Tech Sleazing
    The new movie about the Clarence Thomas–Anita Hill hearings turns history to fodder. Who could have guessed that the 1991 Senate Judiciary Committee’s Clarence Thomas–Anita Hill hearings would set the tone for American political and television culture for years to come? Those hearings became an embarrassing nationally televised spectacle, foreshadowing the O. J. Simpson trial, the Bill Clinton–Monica Lewinsky disgrace, and other degradations that exposed American social habits. The public has ever since regarded race, sex, and political power in tabloid terms. The new HBO movie Confirmation can’t avoid those terms, since they have become the lingua franca of our political discourse. It begins promisingly, going back to the partisan rejection of President Reagan’s 1987 nomination of Robert Bork to the Supreme Court, setting a pattern of shameless Democrat vs. Republican gamesmanship that still exists today. This leads to the fight against President George Herbert Walker Bush’s nomination of Thomas in 1991, typified by a clip from a TV interview of New York activist Flo Kennedy inciting her audience: “Kill him [Thomas] politically and kill Bush in the meantime.” That repugnant vitriol, expressed through Flo Kennedy’s feminist indignation, is an undercurrent of Confirmation, which was scripted by Susannah Grant (who wrote Erin Brockovich) and directed by Rick Famuyiwa (hyped for last year’s Sundance hip-hop comedy Dope). Combining the agendas of feminist and black filmmakers does not guarantee objectivity. Beneath the main players in Confirmation, there’s a conspicuous subplot about the secondary echelon of female Beltway operatives, featuring Senator Biden’s assistant Carolyn Hart (Zoe Lister-Jones) and a Senate investigator, Ricki Seidman (Grace Gummer), whose simmering outrage over the outcome of the Thomas hearings announces the film’s true purpose as a referendum on gender equality. Yes, it’s stealthily PC (avoiding the heroics of Erin Brockovich and lacking the panache of a Costa-Gavras political thriller), but it’s still PC. (function($){ var swapArticleBodyPullAd = function() { if ($('body').hasClass('node-type-articles')) { var $pullAd = $('.story-container .pullad').addClass('mobile-position'); if (window.matchMedia("(min-width: 640px)").matches) { if ($pullAd.hasClass('mobile-position')) { $pullAd .addClass('desktop-position') .insertBefore('.article-ad-desktop-position'); } } else { if ($pullAd.hasClass('mobile-position')) { $pullAd .addClass('mobile-position') .insertBefore('.article-ad-mobile-position'); } } } }; $(window).on('resize', function(){ swapArticleBodyPullAd(); }).resize(); })(jQuery); It’s also — essentially — television. A third subplot features clips of a roster of TV newscasters: Carole Simpson, Brit Hume, Tim Russert, Ted Koppel, Peter Jennings, Barbara Walters, Andrea Mitchell, Bob Schieffer, Dan Rather, David Brinkley, Tom Brokaw, and others — all seen in younger days — whose function is to regulate the film’s historical replay. (They never inquire who leaked Hill’s personal information.) These talking heads (including comic lawn jockey Chris Rock) aren’t just a Greek chorus; they’re like footnotes, implying accuracy and authority. Brokaw’s many appearances confer judgment on which of the hearings’ testimonies are “compelling” or have “credibility.” Current political discourse loses true credibility through exactly this kind of prevarication; the acted-out and media-footnoted representation of history distorts the issues at hand. Grant and Famuyiwa give sentimental preference to Hill. Her statements, “I don’t want it to appear that I had a political agenda” and “I had to tell the truth. I could not keep silent,” do not pass for motivation. Grant and Famuyiwa, with their dependence on famous names and talking heads, prove incapable of achieving character depth, atmosphere, or intellectual nuance. Instead, this turning-point cultural event falls into the maw of TV sensationalism. *      *      * Actress Kerry Washington, of television’s sleazy drama series Scandal, here mixes scandal with Scandal. She portrays law-school graduate Anita Hill. caught, like Dorothy, in the headlights of Oz as she steps naïvely before the predatory media and D.C. hacks. Ms. Washington’s participation in this retrospective political drama is loaded with cultural irony and political folly — as much as the Hill–Thomas hearings themselves, which “inspired” the highly rated Scandal. In that series, Washington plays a black crisis-management operative who conducts an adulterous affair with the white president of the United States (Tony Goldwyn). It is a warped fantasia on themes that originated with the Hill–Thomas hearings, stirring them up to fit a perverse sense of license that, at the peak of the Obama era (the series began in 2012) somehow celebrates the power position of a black woman in government. Washington’s character, Olivia Pope (partly based on G. H. W. Bush’s black female press assistant, Judy Smith), is what hip-hop culture calls a “jump-off” and “a side-chick.” Olivia’s style is the opposite of Anita Hill’s demure deportment, and yet Washington, unfortunately, plays both with a wide-eyed stare that looks scared when she means to look serious. Washington’s last name could as well be “Hollywood,” considering how her career combines D.C. and Malibu culture-war attitudes on race, gender, and political partisanship. Her black-actress “authenticity” status is conferred by the Hollywood establishment, and yet it never translates into believability (except for her role in Rodrigo Garcia’s profoundly moving pro-life film Mother and Child). The scene where Anita Hill prepares her bit-player parents for the coming catastrophe shows no experiential rapport; it’s as if the fake-noble, cornpone parents of 13 kids were unfamiliar with issues of sex, race, and politics. America’s black professional class is alien to the mainstream media, which still cannot fathom black people beyond ghetto or celebrity stereotypes. A similar inauthenticity occurs in the equal-time blandness of Clarence and Virginia Thomas’s interracial marriage (Wendell Pierce and Alison Wright). Confirmation hardly improves on its characters’ Nineties media iconography, except that these actors are relatively glamorous. The hearings’ key moment passes with little impact, although Thomas’s stoic, extraordinary proclamation is still strong enough to shrivel this TV-movie’s approach: “This is a circus. It’s a national disgrace. And from my standpoint as a black American, as far as I’m concerned, it is a high-tech lynching for uppity blacks who in any way deign to think for themselves, to do for themselves, to have different ideas. And it is a message that unless you kowtow to an old order, this is what will happen to you. You will be lynched, destroyed, caricatured by a committee of the U.S. — U.S. Senate, rather than hung from a tree.” Thomas’s “high-tech lynching” is a major American turn of phrase, a great, prophetic concept that speaks more boldly to modern American race and media experience than anything James Baldwin or even Frederick Douglass could ever imagine. Confirmation indicts itself when an early scene attempts to pre-empt Thomas’s rhetorical masterstroke by having Hill whimper, “When someone comes forward, the victim tends to become the villain.” The same moral shell game occurs when Senator Ted Kennedy (Treat Williams) warns the committee to separate race from sex — even though, in this case, neither is ignorable. More Movies Mark Ruffalo vs. White ‘Conservative’ Women The Mummy Unwrapped: American Guilt and Masochism There’s Still Life in The Mummy Confirmation doesn’t clarify the hearings sufficiently, because of tabloid-media oversimplification. (Jeffrey Wright, who plays Hill’s counsel, Charles Ogletree, might have been better cast as John Doggett, the black Texas businessman and Thomas defender — a Dickensian personality who lit up the hearings, but who is glimpsed only briefly in Confirmation.) America’s black professional class is alien to the mainstream media, which still cannot fathom black people beyond ghetto or celebrity stereotypes. Grant and Famuyiwa cannot portray the D.C. culture that relegates blacks to EEOC appointments, nor can they even overcome the Hollywood culture that fails to imagine that the ways in which black male and female colleagues relate is similar to the ways in which white men and women relate. Both Thomas and Hill remain pawns in D.C. and Hollywood games of high-tech sleazing; that’s the only way their experiences are acknowledged. — Armond White, a film critic who writes about movies for National Review Online, received the American Book Awards’ Anti-Censorship Award. He is the author of The Resistance: Ten Years of Pop Culture That Shook the World and the forthcoming What We Don’t Talk about When We Talk about the Movies. ]]>
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    (Review Source)

The Weekly Standard Staff1
The Weekly Standard



(Reviewers' Site/Bio)

  • Justice Thomas, Undaunted
    After 25 years on the Court, his voice is more important than ever.
    ...
    (Review Source)

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