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Lyndon B. Johnson becomes the President of the United States in the chaotic aftermath of JFK's assassination and the documentary is about his early days from the assassination to the battle over the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and his campaign to stay in the White House.
All the Way is a firm lesson in the price and struggle of progress in American democracy, and the perhaps impossibility of a "nice guy" president. It's also an illustration of both how much and how little has changed in 50 years.
Just as Johnson steamrolled opposition en route to a landslide 1964 election victory, so Cranston's charisma blew everyone else clean off screen. The actor also went "all the way" and it was absorbing to watch.
Director Jay Roach turns Robert Schenkkan's acclaimed Broadway play into an engrossing, powerful if slightly overcrowded movie that works as a biopic of LBJ and as a time capsule of a crucial period in the civil rights movement.