Swing Vote (2008)

“Swing Vote” is a funny, yet inspiring movie with an all-star cast including Kevin Costner, Paula Patton (Mirrors), Kelsey Grammer, Dennis Hopper, Nathan Lane, Stanley Tucci and Madeline Carroll (Resident Evil: Extinction) as Molly Johnson.  Set in a small town in New Mexico, “Swing Vote” is loaded with cameos by several media and entertainment figure including Bill Maher, Larry King, Willie Nelson and Richard Petty.  If nothing else, you’ll get a full day’s dosage of celebrities and a lot of laughs with a few tears thrown in.

Young Molly Johnson spends her days taking care of her father who has given up and simply drifts through life.  Yet, Molly still tries to make Bud a better person and on Election Day, she insists Bud show up at the polling place and vote after work.  Unfortunately, Bud loses his job, heads to the local bar and spends the rest of the day getting drunk then passing out in the cab of his truck.  Knowing Bud has disappointed her again, Molly takes matters into her own hands. The result of her actions put Bud in the position of being the “swing vote” for the entire nation – one vote will decide who will be the next President of the United States. 

Despite his confusion, Bud goes along with the charade enjoying his fifteen minutes of fame for awhile.  But, Molly becomes more and more troubled by the antics of both contenders and Bud’s reaction to them.  Eventually, she tries to confide in a local television reporter who befriended her and ends up feeling betrayed by every adult she should be able to trust.

One of the saddest parts of this movie is knowing this beautiful, smart, young girl is growing up neglected and unwanted by her parents.  She’s the perfect candidate for child welfare, except being placed in the foster system would be worse for her than living with an alcoholic father with no hope for the future.  Although this movie has its funny moments when Bud shows exactly how much he doesn’t know, I found myself embracing the moments when he starts to understand there is more at stake than an election.  The ending reduced me to tears and gave me hope that others watching this movie will understand the importance of being involved in the election process and with their families. 

MRS. MAHAN SAYS: “Swing Vote” is a must-see movie and good for the entire family, but parents may want to restrict younger children from watching because of all the swearing thoughout the movie.

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