Power and Beauty (2002) starring Natasha Henstridge, Kevin Anderson, Peter Friedman, John Ralston, Chris Owens, Katie Griffin, Tony Nappo, Cedric Smith, Grant Nickalls directed by Susan Seidelman Movie Review

Power and Beauty (2002)   2/52/52/52/52/5

Natasha Henstridge in Power and Beauty (2002)

Beauty but No Power

Judith Exner (Natasha Henstridge) believes she made three mistakes in life starting with her marriage to actor Billy Campbell (Grant Nickalls) whose main focus was his acting career and not her. Her second was the affair she had with Frank Sinatra (John Ralston) who she met through some mob connects and which she broke off after Sinatra wanted her to take part in a threesome. And the third was becoming Jack Kennedy's (Kevin Anderson) mistress and getting involved with his goings on with Chicago gangster Sam Giancana (Peter Friedman) who becomes besotted with her. When Kennedy wins the Presidency things take a turn for the worse as she gets harassed by the FBI and eventually in 1977 lets spill when she tells almost all in her 1977 memoir.

I don't know what I really expected from "Power and Beauty" as I had never heard of Judith Exner or her claims of being one of Jack Kennedy's mistresses. But what I learned whilst looking for information on the movie that Exner was so connected and knew so much about Kennedy's goings on as well as the mobs that she could have rocked the boat in a major way if she had chosen to. Unfortunately what I got from "Power and Beauty" was the surprisingly uninteresting story of Judith Exner and her relationships. The whole thing lacks excitement with Exner played in such a way that she was a good girl who got tangled up in things not of her doing.

What "Power and Beauty" ends up coming across as is a movie all about its look, its recreation of the era rather than the salacious drama of Exner and the men she had affairs with. And in fairness visually "Power and Beauty" looks good with some nice sets, some nice outfits and a good use of old songs. But enjoying a movie purely because of the look makes it a shallow experience.

Unfortunately whilst Natasha Henstridge is attractive her performance as Exner does little to actually draw you to her character. In truth every single performance and every single character has issues and adds to the reasons why "Power and Beauty" really struggles to get a grip on you.

What this all boils down to is that "Power and Beauty" just didn't work for me and became a very shallow movie where the recreation of the era was the best thing about it. Maybe for those who are more in to the history of Jack Kennedy and are already aware of Exner and her affair with the President might find it more absorbing but for anyone else it struggles.