The long-awaited HBO movie Game Change, which stars Julianne Moore as former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin during the run-up to the 2008 presidential election, has drawn criticism from both Palin and Arizona Senator John McCain, even though it does not premiere until Saturday. But while Republicans have chastised the film and the book upon which it is based, largely for innacuracies and unflattering portrayals of its principal characters, some critics who have actually seen the movie in its entirety say that Game Change may make viewers understand Palin a bit better — and even feel a few pangs of compassion.

"What if I told you that Game Change, the acrimoniously anticipated HBO movie airing Saturday night, might make you feel sorry for Sarah Palin?" asked Hank Stuever in The Washington Post, before going on to explain that the portraits of Palin, McCain and other real-life people depicted in the film are not as harsh as one might expect. "The movie seems to want you to realize that there’s a human being there, someone who could use a break from the scorn and expectation heaped upon her. In fact, all the major players in Game Change could have done a lot worse when it comes to being depicted by Hollywood."

Reviewer Gail Shister agrees. "[Palin] is portrayed as a compassionate mother and instinctive campaigner whose nerves fray under crushing stress," she wrote for TVNewser. "One cannot help but feel for her. Nothing could have prepared her for the level of public scrutiny that comes with a national candidacy."

Watch the trailer for Game Change here:

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