Power & Beauty (2002) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

Before I saw this movie, all I knew about Judith Exner was that (1) she was a good looking woman who was the lover of three famous and very powerful men: Frank Sinatra, JFK, and Sam "Momo" Giancana, and (2) J. Edgar Hoover had her followed because she was romancing President Kennedy and mob boss Giancana simultaneously.

That's still all I know about her.

This film did add some tiny bits of gossip that I didn't know or had mercifully forgotten. If you believe its version of the story, Kennedy used Exner to deliver suitcases full of money to the mob, first to deliver some votes, then to assassinate Castro. If JFK did pay Momo to assassinate Castro, he really should have demanded a refund. As I write this, JFK has now been dead for 40 years, and Castro is still the ruler of Cuba. The script also implies that Sinatra introduced Exner to the mobster and the President specifically so she could be used as a go-between.

As for Exner's personality - um - well. She was ...

I don't know. I don't know what kind of family she came from, or how she supported herself, or how she came to know the mobsters who led her to Sinatra in the first place. Was she a good student? Did she aspire to be an actress? A writer? Did she have dreams that she abandoned to follow Frank and JFK around? Did she have a good sense of humor? Did she make sparkling conversation? Did she have a bad temper? Was she socially adroit? Was she good in bed? Did such powerful men pursue her solely because of her looks and availability? I don't know the answer to any of those questions. This film is the only biopic I have ever seen which gave me absolutely zero sense of the focal character.

My impression is that Judith Exner was the only person in history who played a bit part in her own life story.

The lack of character depth extended to almost all of the minor characters as well. The JFK character was fairly well fleshed out, and competently acted, but if you watched the scenes with Sinatra, you'd never know it was supposed to be Frank except for the hat. It looked nothing like him, and the hand gestures were too flamboyant, too uncool. The rest of the Rat Packers were characterized ineptly as well. I don't know where Dino was. The guy who played Sammy had only one line, and blew it. And I had to watch some scenes over again to see if the Lawford actor was really supposed to be Lawford. Lame.


Natasha Henstridge showed her right breast in a very dark sex scene.

An unidentified black woman is topless when Sinatra brings her to Judith's bed for a threesome 

As for Sam Giancana, well, he was portrayed as the greatest, humblest, nicest person on the planet since Francis of Assisi.  Gosh, what a loveable, caring mobster he must have been! (I don't know if that is accurate, but I'm skeptical.)
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How can you make a boring movie about JFK, the Rat Pack, and mobsters? I don't know, but they did it. There is really no reason to watch this film. The celebrity characterizations seem inaccurate, and the main character has no personality at all, good or bad.

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The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. (C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by genre fans, while C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie although genre addicts find it watchable). D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-.

Based on this description, this film is a D. There is no "there" there. A few incidents strung together with little cohesion, and no sense of the main character.

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