Whatever one thinks of the late Ronald Reagan and his policies, what stands out in “The Regan Show” is his civility, a welcome quality in sharp contrast to the embarrassing behavior of our current president, Donald Trump.
Efficiently directed by Sierra Pettengill and Pacho Velez, the documentary is rich in clips of Reagan, his era and his life. Some of it seems like a family album, and some like a trip down a memory lane of journalism and diplomacy.
“The Regan Show” plays like a homage to the man, stressing his dedication to the office, his desire for peace and his faith in a market economy.
One glaring omission is any evaluation of what he did during the air controllers strike. His breaking of the strike set unions back dramatically. The fact that he could fire striking air controllers and replace them set an example and trend toward decimating labor unions. It was a severe blow to workers. (Part of the blame should be fixed on the union of pilots for not supporting the strikers. Had pilots brought air travel to a halt, it would have been impossible for Reagan to prevail with his union busting policy.)
Was Mr. Nice Guy a worthy president? That depends on one’s social and economic views. The film stresses his affability and demonstrates how he could come up with a glib response to a question. In some scenes in appears as if he were acting the role of president, just as he acted roles during his movie career.
Overall, “The Reagan Show” is a refresher course in the the history of Reagan’s presidency and life. But much more is needed to cover the controversies resulting from some of his conservative views and policies. A Gravitas Ventures and CNN Films release. Reviewed June 30, 2017.