Film Review: “Gore Vidal: The United States of Amnesia”

Written by Film, Film Reviews


One of the smartest socio-political pundits to ever have the floor, the written word and the ear of the American public, the late, truly great Eugene Luther “Gore” Vidal is immortalized in this fine documentary by Nicholas Wrathall.  Seeing Vidal through the decades – from film stock in the ’50’s right up to his death in 2012 at age 86 – is a joy and fascinating.  Vidal was a screenwriter; novelist; he ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 1960; he was a staunch opponent to American foreign policy and in looking at the big picture, he was the American voice of reason amongst unreasonable people in equally unreasonable times.

Having his books denounced, decried and banned, due to his desire to show society’s hypocrisy towards sexuality, religion and the far right, naturally he became a best selling author; in the film, he talks about writing screenplays to make a living, thus de-mystifying of writing for the sake of art.  And no more riveting is watching his on-screen television battles with William Buckley (which very nearly came to blows) and Norman Mailer.

If you’ve never really looked into the life and work of Gore Vidal or wanted to know more, then this is the perfect vehicle.  All told in Gore’s own words (with the help of some friends, such as Joanne Woodward), Gore Vidal – The United States Of Amnesia is a must see.