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Chasing Liberty

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Andy Cadiff
Produced by Broderick Johnson
Andrew Kosove
David Parfitt
Written by Derek Guiley
David Schneiderman
Starring Mandy Moore
Matthew Goode
Jeremy Piven
Mark Harmon
Music by Christian Henson
Cinematography Ashley Rowe
Editing by Jon Gregory
Studio Alcon Entertainment
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release date(s) January 9, 2004 (2004-01-09)
Running time 111 minutes
Language English
Budget $23,000,000 USD (est.)

Chasing Liberty is a 2004 romantic comedy film about the American President's daughter. It was directed by Andy Cadiff and stars Mandy Moore and Matthew Goode.



Anna Foster (Mandy Moore) is the daughter of the President of the United States, James (Mark Harmon) and First Lady Michelle Foster (Caroline Goodall).

When a hassle of Secret Service agents ruins a first date, Anna demands some freedom. Her dad agrees to send only two agents with Anna and Gabrielle La Clare (Beatrice Rosen) to a concert when Anna goes to Prague with her parents. A sexy new look for Anna causes her father to renege. When Anna discovers the concert is filled with agents and that her father has broken his promise, Gabrielle helps Anna elude her protectors. Outside the concert, Anna meets Ben Calder (Matthew Goode), and asks him to drive her to escape the agents. Anna goes to a bar with Ben and proceeds to get drunk. Unbeknownst to Anna, Ben is with the Secret Service, and tells agents Alan Weiss (Jeremy Piven) and Cynthia Morales (Annabella Sciorra) where Anna is. The President orders the three agents to have Ben guard Anna without telling her who he really is, to give her an illusion of freedom with a guarantee of safety. Believing herself free of her guards for the first time in years, Anna jumps into the Vltava River naked, mistaking it for the Danube, and Ben has to fish her out (he stays clothed). Weiss and Morales buy the camera from someone taking pictures of the skinny-dipping Anna. Anna and Ben climb a rooftop to watch an opera being shown in a plaza, where Anna eventually falls asleep with Ben guarding her, and Weiss and Morales watching from another roof.

The next morning, Anna calls her parents to avoid getting into further trouble with them. Knowing she is safe, her father is initially indulgent, and Anna is about to return, but his tone changes when he is shown the photos of her nude in the river. The First Lady, however, asks, "What happened to 'let freedom ring?'" (That had been his earlier line when he had decided to let her stay out with Ben.) Anna is outraged at both her dad's sudden imperious tone and finding out that he traced her call. She decides to meet Gabrielle at the Love Parade in Berlin and return to her parents right before the plane trip home. Ben goes with her on the train, where they meet Scotty McGruff (Martin Hancock), a flighty romantic obsessed with Six Million Dollar Man stickers and the interconnectivity of the world, he gives them a stack of stickers and tells them to stick them up in random places, then one day when they are unhappy, they will see one and it will make them smile. Through him, the two learn that they have boarded a Venice-bound train. When they arrive in Venice, Ben calls the other agents to tell them where they are but has to leave the phone dangling when he realizes he can no longer see Anna. He finds her and McGruff getting new clothes, and the three explore Venice - until McGruff steals their wallets. Ben is about to tell the cafe they cannot pay when Anna is recognized and races off to avoid being identified as the First Daughter. Ben follows, and they tell a story of marrying, against the wishes of Anna's parents, to get a gondola ride from a kind-hearted gondolier, Eugenio (Joseph Long). Ben kisses Anna during the ride to hide her from the cafe staff's sight. Since they have no place to stay, Eugenio invites them to his and his mother Maria's (Miriam Margolyes) house. That night, thinking the kiss meant that Ben cares for her, Anna offers herself to him. To dissuade her, Ben is disingenuous and harsh. Anna finally gets in the bed alone, while Ben lies on the floor.

The next day, Eugenio drives them to the Austrian border, as Weiss and Morales show up at Maria's looking for the gondolier with whom Anna and Ben were last seen. Maria tells them that Anna and Ben are married, which is reported to Anna's parents. Upset that Ben rejected her, Anna gets a ride on a truck, leaving Ben to chase her on a borrowed push-bike through the Austria countryside, Anna finds the Jumping Germans, a bungy group who are preparing to jump off a bridge. She also finds McGruff about to bungy as well. Ben arrives just as Anna is being strapped into the harness and insists on jumping with her. At the Germans camp that night, Anna and Ben sit by a fire and eat s'mores whilst keeping McGruff on a tree branch over the river. McGruff says he needed the money to find a mystery girl he has been chasing all over Europe. After one of the Germans asks Anna to share his tent for the night and she refuses, she once again reminds Ben of her attraction to him and after he rebuffs her once more, she walks away declaring that she will share the tent with the German. Insanely jealous, Ben finally admits his feelings for her. As Ben's repaired phone rings, he tosses it aside instead of answering and they spend the night together.

The next day they make it to the Love Parade and find Gabrielle, who guesses that something has happened to Anna to make her so happy, Anna points out Ben on the payphone and admits she is in love. Whilst Ben is trying to explain his actions on the phone, Anna comes up behind him and finds out that he is an agent and he has lied to her all this time. Enraged and swearing mentally never to forgive him fully, she runs from him, only to be surrounded by some men who recognize her. After Ben fights them, he carries her to the helicopter that has come to pick her up.

Back in the White House, we see Anna preparing for college and her mom asking how her heart is, to which her reply is, "It's a little bit broken." (This is a bald lie; it has been totally destroyed.) When at college, with Weiss and Morales protecting her, Anna sees a Six Million Dollar Man sticker and smiles in spite of herself, as it reminds her of her European adventure. On her Christmas break, she visits her father who tells her that Ben has resigned and is now working as a photographer in London. She goes there on an exchange to Oxford College and visits Ben at an opera, where they kiss and reconcile with Agent Weiss and his new bald, moustache wearing partner looking on. Then, as in the beginning of the movie, Anna asks his help to get her out of there.

A subplot involving Weiss and Morales (Anna's two secret agents) is also in the story. Weiss makes snide comments about Morales, even once asking her to strip naked. Morales then asks him what kind of women want his "construction-break" attitude. Weiss suddenly treats her coldly after this, until they make up later on. Weiss tells Morales that he has had no girlfriends since his hairline receded. Morales tells him that he should get it cut short because some women like that. Later, Morales sees that Weiss has cut his hair and she says it is sexy. He kisses her. He says sorry and pulls away. He begins to walk away, but she grabs his arm and kisses him back. At college with Anna, we see that their relationship is still going well, with Weiss mentioning that he will need to get a new partner, preferably an "old, fat guy."

Production details

The scenes involving the White House were in fact filmed at Hylands House in Chelmsford, Essex, England, which resembles the White House. Blueprints of the White House were also used to create a digital replica, which helped make it seem real. These blueprints caused the director some trouble when traveling to Washington DC, as his suitcase also contained source material about the Oval Office, among other things.

The storyline was directly inspired by Chelsea Clinton, who was photographed trying to blend in with other students at a Stanford basketball game.[1] The film received a lukewarm response from critics [2], but won three Teen Choice Awards.

Another film, called First Daughter, released later in 2004 and starring Katie Holmes, had a similar plot, but was a commercial failure. An early working title for Chasing Liberty had been First Daughter.[citation needed]



External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Chasing Liberty is a 2004 romantic comedy directed by Andy Cadiff. Mandy Moore stars as the daughter of a U.S. President who escapes her Secret Service detail to enjoy a romantic European trip with a stranger.

  • Every family has a rebel. Even the First Family.
  • How do you fall in love with the whole world watching?
  • I don’t want to think, I want to live!
  • I have a big thing for you.
  • Never ask a president to promise anything. I'm not, I’m asking my dad.
  • I'm so un-bloody-hinged just being near you.
  • The things you’re scared of are usually the most worthwhile.
  • The big gesture.

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