Oliver Stone's W. has screened for the more important among us, and I am pleasantly surprised to report that people are not openly laughing at it. Some seem downright impressed. Here, for example is David Poland on The Hot Blog:

"[Josh] Brolin should be nominated for the Oscar. We'll see whether the crowd around Best Actor is too big for him to crack, but it is a letter perfect performance that looks much, much easier than most critics and audiences, I think, will understand . . . . The only downside is that the movie doesn't offer the massive supporting cast a lot of big awards-style moments. They are just really, really good. And that really should be enough."

Variety's Todd McCarthy is a bit more mixed than Poland, but concedes that W."offers a clear and plausible take on the current chief executive's psychological makeup and, considering Stone's reputation and Bush's vast unpopularity, a relatively even-handed, restrained treatment of recent politics." And Kirk Honeycutt over at The Hollywood Reporter says that though the film is more bold than it is good, "Stone goes out of his way to give Bush a fair hearing."

Over the summer, I guffawed at the notion that Stone was going to be fair and sympathetic to Bush in W., but it looks like I may be eating those words before too long. Apparently the problem people are having with the film isn't its politics but its lack of formal audacity, which is the opposite what I expected to hear. But it's certainly good to learn that Stone at least attempts a serious treatment of the subject -- those script pages that Slate "leaked" a while back could have fooled me.