Gore Vidal: The United States of Amnesia 2.0 stars

A tribute to that dying breed, the public, progressive intellectual. Hagiography isn't always this entertaining; but then, Vidal was an entertainer. Novelist, yes; essayist, certainly; TV personality, hell yes; even erstwhile politician and screenwriter (Suddenly, Last Summer). But always an entertainer, if only to mask the pain of an awful childhood, painful professional rejection, and a deep disappointment with the American experiment. (Grandpa was that odd thing, an honest Senator.) Vidal proves a great one for carving up sacred cows — the Founders, Lincoln, Kennedy, The New York Times, and on occasion, the most holy bovine of the self. Director Nicholas Wrathall gets good access to his subject during his latter-day crusade against post-9/11 foreign policy, and also puts together a fine highlight reel of the man's glory years under the television studio spotlight. If things get melancholy toward the end, well, you know what they say: it's lonely being smart. 2013.

Matthew Lickona

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