Wellstone! | Chicago Reader

Wellstone!

If this loving portrait (2004) of the late Minnesota senator by Laurie Stern, Lu Lippold, and Dan Luke veers close to hagiography at times, the filmmakers' unabashed reverence can be excused somewhat: in an age of partisanship and cynicism, Wellstone was a principled politician who commanded respect from both sides of the aisle. A restless college professor who from early on fought for social change when he believed injustice was being committed, Wellstone emerged the unlikely victor in Minnesota's 1990 senatorial race against the Republican incumbent. In an unheard-of act of testosterone for a rookie senator, he immediately distinguished himself by filibustering the Johnston-Wallop energy bill, which would have opened the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling. While soft when addressing anything even remotely critical of Wellstone, who was killed along with his wife and daughter in a 2002 plane crash, this is a candid portrait of a real iconoclast, as much a loving family man as an irascible champion of the underdog. 88 min.

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