The site's critical consensus reads, "Frost/Nixon is weighty and eloquent; a cross between a boxing match and a ballet with Oscar worthy performances." René Rodríguez of The Miami Herald gave the film two stars and commented that the picture "pales in comparison to Oliver Stone's Nixon when it comes to humanizing the infamous leader" despite writing that the film "faithfully reenacts the events leading up to the historic 1977 interviews." Manohla Dargis of The New York Times said, "[S]tories of lost crowns lend themselves to drama, but not necessarily audience-pleasing entertainments, which may explain why Frost/Nixon registers as such a soothing, agreeably amusing experience, more palliative than purgative." Jonathan Aitken, one of Nixon's official biographers who spent much time with the former president at La Casa Pacifica, rebukes the film for its portrayal of a drunken Nixon making a late-night phone call as never having happened and says it is "from start to finish, an artistic invention by the scriptwriter Peter Morgan." Director Ron Howard discussed the scene in detail on his feature commentary for the DVD release, pointing out it was a deliberate act of dramatic license, and while Frost never received such a phone call, "it was known that Richard Nixon, during ..Watergate scandal, had occasionally made midnight phone calls that he couldn't very well recall the following day." Aitken recalls that "Frost did not ambush Nixon during the final interview into a damaging admission of guilt.
The film implies that Nixon and Frost were meeting for the first time in 1977 for these interviews, but in fact Frost had interviewed Nixon for U. network television in 1968 as part of a series of interviews of leading candidates in the Presidential election of that year.Diane Sawyer, portrayed in the film in her role as one of Nixon's researchers, said in December 2008 that, "Jack Brennan is portrayed as a stern military guy," citing both the play and what she’d heard about the film version.As his own team watches in horror from an adjoining room, Nixon admits that he did unethical things, adding, "When the President does it, that means it's not illegal." A stunned Frost is on the verge of inducing a confession when Brennan bursts in and stops the recording.After Nixon and Brennan confer, the interview resumes, Frost aggressively pursues his original line of questioning, and Nixon admits that he participated in a cover-up and that he "let the American people down." After the interview, Frost and Caroline pay a farewell visit to Nixon at his villa.Among them is British journalist David Frost, currently recording a talk show in Australia, who decides to interview Nixon.
Nixon’s literary agent, Irving Lazar, believes the interview would be an opportunity for Nixon to salvage his reputation, and to make some money.
And it’s hard to imagine Frank Langella, who plays a Brezhnev-looking Nixon, giving a bad performance.
Still, the movie’s fundamental premise is just plain wrong." Caroline Cushing Graham, in a December 2008 interview, noted that her first trip with Frost was to the Muhammad Ali fight in Zaire, and that the two had been together for more than five years prior to when the film shows the two meeting.
She remembered Frost as feeling that he did a pretty good job on every interview, whereas the film depicts him feeling he did a poor job with the first two interviews.
She added that while the movie shows Frost driving, in fact they were always chauffeured because he was always making notes for the work he was doing.
Frost/Nixon grossed an estimated ,622,031 in the United States and Canada and ,804,304 in other territories for a total of ,426,335 worldwide, recouping its million budget by a thin margin.