NY Times Reporter on 'Legendarily Dense' GOP Official Katherine Harris

May 27th, 2008 3:19 PM

New York Times TV-beat reporter Alessandra Stanley reviewed "Recount," the HBO film about the controversial aftermath of the 2000 presidential campaign vote in Florida. 

Many have commented on how the movie clearly visualizes the contest through a Democratic prism. Predictably, Stanley loved it, and let her opinion of one major GOP character (often loathed by liberals who accuse her of handing the election to Bush) very clear.

"Recount," an astute and deliciously engrossing film on HBO this Sunday night, retells the tale of Florida in all its bizarre and inglorious moments, from haggling over the "hanging chad" and "butterfly ballots" to the ruckus between the Florida secretary of state, Katherine Harris, and the Palm Beach County Canvassing Board. "Recount" is not satire; it's a mordantly serious look at a moment when character, political influence and luck fatefully collided.

Then it was time for some Katherine Harris-hating:

The casting of "Recount" is inspired. Kevin Spacey plays Ron Klain, the senior adviser to Vice President Al Gore who ended up leading the Democrats' Florida recount effort, and Tom Wilkinson is James A. Baker III, the silky-smooth Bush family consigliere who ran the Republican effort. Laura Dern is mesmerizing as Ms. Harris, the legendarily dense public official who also helped organize George W. Bush's Florida election campaign. Ms. Dern's portrait comes the closest to parody -- the role all but demands it -- but she manages to convey some glimmers of humanity behind the thick makeup and thicker skull.