I have to admit to a gross lack of knowledge when it comes to our early presidents. I'm sure at some time when I was in school I could recite them in order and perhaps even tell you the names of their wives. However, very few of them have ever seemed like real people. Beyond Washington, Jefferson, and Lincoln I didn't know much, nor care to know much, about them as men. But that was before HBO created the mini-series John Adams, which I just finished watching this weekend. Great timing since the show broke all sorts of records at the Emmy Awards last night. Paul Giamatti won best actor honors for his portrayal of John Adams, as did actress Laura Linney, who played his wife, and Tom Wilkinson, for his supporting role as Ben Franklin. Kirk Ellis was honored for his wonderful screenplay. The program won 13 awards, including Best Mini-Series- all well-deserved. It was outstanding! Even the music was great.
One of the things that was captivating about the story was the relationship between John Adams and his wife. Abigail was his friend and confidante, his love and his companion, but she was also his critic and adviser on many important issues. Apparently she didn't let him wallow in self-pity and doubt, nor bask in the limelight if it wasn't deserved. When he was being a pompous politician she let him know it! And John Adams wasn't much of a father. Because of a variety of circumstances he was gone most of the time and Abigail raised the children alone. They were also plagued by some very serious problems and crises.
Also interesting were the relationships between Adams, Washington, Hamilton, Jefferson, and Franklin. Lots of intrigue there! And none of them were saints!
Oh, I know it's a movie. It's based on the book by David McCullough and I'm sure there are errors. I'm sure there are things in the movie that weren't in the book. I'm sure there are things in the book that were exaggerated or embellished or whatever. We can never know for sure what someone was doing or thinking if they are no longer with us. But even if only half of the movie is a true depiction of the man and his times, it is thought provoking and well worth watching. I encourage you to rent it soon. There are seven episodes and it takes a few days or a marathon weekend to watch it. Get lots of popcorn and a few tissues.