HBO’s “Confirmation” Is Confirmed
By BELA KIRPALANI
Most Jericho students were either not yet born or too young to remember when the Senate Judiciary Committee held hearings about the nomination of Judge Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court in 1991. However, HBO’s new film, “Confirmation,” has opened our eyes, and reopened old wounds about the controversy and drama that swirled around Thomas’ nomination proceedings.
Directed by Rick Famuyiwa and scripted by Susannah Grant, “Confirmation” does a great job of educating the public on the issue and ensuring that the nation will never forget what happened in 1991.
Jericho’s AP U.S. Government and Politics teacher Ms. Cook watched the movie because she hadn’t watched the proceedings when they were going on at the time. She said, “I am very interested in politics, and Clarence Thomas was someone that I didn’t know much about before the movie, so I was interested in learning a little bit more about him.” When asked about the effect of this film on the American public, she said, “I think that it taught this young generation about what happened with Thomas, and it definitely brought more awareness to the issue. Also, I think it taught people more about the justice confirmation process in general.”
Conservatives have called the screenplay biased because it portrays Ms. Hill as a gallant hero, Mr. Thomas as disingenuous, and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Joseph R. Biden Jr. as incompetent. While I do believe that nothing is ever completely unbiased, “Confirmation” leans more towards the left, especially with the portrayal of Mr. Thomas’ testimony. Ms. Cook agreed, and said, “I did feel that it was a little bit one-sided. If possible, I would like to see the other side so I can see how accurate the film was.”
“Confirmation” tells a serious, linear story but doesn’t really develop its characters beyond headline news figures. The film mostly focuses on Ms. Hill, Mr. Thomas and Mr. Biden, however, the other leading presence in “Confirmation” is the news media. The film leans heavily on archival footage from the two major broadcast networks, CNN and C-SPAN. Although the film can drag at some points, it’s engaging and powerful at moments when it turns the cameras on the nation of the men and women watching the proceedings.
Although Justice Thomas was confirmed by the U.S. Senate in a 52-48 vote, Anita Hill’s testimony had a lasting effect on the nation. The amount of sexual harassment claims significantly increased, and the legacy of the election following the hearings was that a plethora of women were voted into office–28 to Congress and 6 to the Senate. They called themselves the “Anita Hill” class and many of them are still in office today.
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