Virtual JFK: Vietnam If Kennedy Had Lived , a newly released documentary film directed and edited by Koji Masutani, takes on the unanswerable what-if of its subtitle. The film, which opened in New York City September 17, portrays John F. Kennedy as a dove on escalating the Vietnam War, positing that if he had not been assassinated in November of 1963, the big escalation under LBJ in the next two years wouldn’t have taken place.
It’s an argument that has raged since the end of the war. And, despite the message of this film, that argument is unprovable either way.
The New York Times’ reviewer, Manohla Dargis was not impressed, calling the film “speculative, provocative, frustrating and finally unpersuasive historical gloss” that “races quickly and all too lightly over the major political crises that” JFK faced around the world.