Recount is a gripping, articulate account of something I've never really understood: the 2000 presidential election. It's great entertainment and great reporting. You will come away from it with a deeper understanding of what exactly went wrong, and with more reason to appreciate Laura Dern, who plays Florida secretary of state Katherine Harris, the woman who delivered the election for George W. Bush. Dern's performance is something special: hilarious, deadly serious, a master class in walking the line between going for a laugh and going for the jugular. Harris in real life is a caricature, but Dern resists the temptation to turn that caricature into comic grandstanding. Rather, she plays Harris exactly how she should be: as a socialite who was gifted a tremendously important position in state government and has no business being there. Dern has only a handful of scenes, and each one is special in its own way, but this one is perhaps the most emblematic of her tragicomic turn:
Watch Recount tonight at 9 on HBO and look for re-airings. It's a marvelous, polished, nuanced movie made by the guy who did Meet the Parents (I know, right?).