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  • The acting in this movie is fine. The problem lies in the script. Near the end it gives Lee Hart, and even Donna Rice, scenes that allow us to get to know them somewhat, see what's inside them. We never get that for Gary Hart, who is far and away the most important character in this movie. We never see what made Hart so popular, especially with younger voters. We never get to see him explain important issues to the masses, though we are told that he does that very effectively. We never get scenes with him in which he gives us a hint of why he risks his career with his extra-marital affairs. He comes off as very cold, very distant, and that's problematic for a central character. As a result, we have no reason to feel anything when his career is finally destroyed.

    To an extent, this is about the media's intrusion into the privacy of public officials, but that isn't examined. Nor is there any attempt to suggest a change over time to today, when a sitting president can boast about extra-marital affairs and not suffer any loss of popularity.

    In the end, I was left wondering why this story was being told in 2018. It doesn't make us understand Hart, or feel sorry for him. It doesn't tell us anything either about 1988 or our own era. It doesn't make Hart a character we can feel for when he falls, because it never shows him to us as a great if flawed man. (Several characters tell us he is great, but that's not the same thing.) What was the point of filming it?
  • Good performances from the leads, but the screenplay was an underwhelming convoluted mess of many quick irrelevant scenes that dragged on into pointless plot issues. Although paced quite well, at the end of the 113 min length, I found myself asking "why" and saying "so what" and "who cares". I was left unsatisfied with this film. It's a 6/10 from me, and I'd recommend a 'pass' on watching this, unless you really need to know about Senator Gary Hart's 1988 presidential run - of which you can simply Google and read up on.
  • The Front Runner is based on the true-story of US presidential hopeful Gary Hart (Hugh Jackman) and if you are NOT aware of the historical background (and have not seen the trailer) then you might want to skip the rest of this review - and all other reviews - so you can see the film first and let the history come as a surprise to you.

    Hart was younger than most candidates: good-looking, floppy-haired and refreshingly matter of fact in his dealings with the public and the press. Any interviews had to be about his politics: not about his family life with wife Lee (Vera Farmiga) and teenage daughter Andrea (Kaitlyn Dever).

    Unfortunately, Hart has a weakness for a pretty face (or ten) and his marriage is rocky as a result: "Just don't embarrass me" is Lee's one requirement. His "nothing to hide" line to an intelligent Washington Post reporter - AJ Parker (a well cast Mamoudou Athie) - leads to a half-arsed stake-out by Miami Herald reporters and incriminating pictures linking Hart to a Miami pharmaceutical saleswoman Donna Rice (Sara Paxton). As the growing press tsunami rises, and his campaign manager (J.K. Simmons) gets more and more frustrated with him, can his candidacy survive and will his (now very much embarrassed) wife stick by him?

    Hugh Jackman is perfectly cast here; very believable as the self-centred, self-righteous and stubborn politician. But this central performance is surrounded by a strong team of supporting players. Vera Farmiga is superb as the wounded wife. Sara Paxton is heartbreaking as the intelligent college girl unfairly portrayed as a "slapper" by the media. The scenes between her and Hart-staffer Irene (Molly Ephraim), trying desperately to support her as best she can, are very nicely done. J.K Simmons as campaign manager Bill Dixon is as reliable as ever. And Alfred Molina turns up as the latest film incarnation of The Post's Ben Bradlee - surely one of the most oft portrayed real-life journalists in film history.

    One of my biggest dissatisfactions with the film is with the sound mixing. Was this a deliberate act by director Jason Reitman, to reflect the chaotic nature of political campaigning? Whether it was deliberate or not, much of the film's dialogue - particularly in the first 30 minutes of the film - is drowned out by background noise. Sometimes I just longed for subtitles!

    The screenplay, by Matt Bai (from his source book), Jay Carson (a Clinton staffer) and director Jason Reitman might align with the story, but the big problem is that the story is just a little bit dull, particularly by today's levels of scandal. This suffers the same fate as "House of Cards" (even before the Kevin Spacey allegations) in that the shocking realities of the Trump-era have progressively neutered the shock-factor of the fiction: to the point where it starts to become boring. Here, only once or twice does the screenplay hit a winning beat: for me, it was the scenes between Donna Rice and Irene Kelly and the dramatic press conference towards the end of the film. The rest of the time, the screenplay was perfectly serviceable but nothing spectacular.

    A core tenet of the film is Hart's view that politics should be about the policies and not about the personality. Looking at the subject nowadays, it's clearly a ridiculously idealistic viewpoint. Of course it matters. Politicians need to be trusted by their constituents (yeah, like that's the case in the UK and the US at the moment!) and whether or not they slap their wives around or sleep with farm animals is clearly a material factor in that relationship. But this was clearly not as much the case in the 70's as it is today, and the suggestion is that the Hart case was a turning point and a wake-up call to politicians around the world. (An interesting article by the Washington Post itself points out that this is also a simplistic view: that Hart should have been well aware of the dangerous game he was playing.)

    Do you think that powerful politicos are driven to infidelity because they are powerful? Or that it is a characteristic of men who have the charisma to become political leaders in the first place? Such was the discussion my wife and I had in the car home after this film. Nature or political nurture? I'm still not sure. It's worth pointing out that to this day both Hart and Rice (interestingly, an alleged ex-girlfriend of Eagles front-man Don Henley) stick to their story that they never had sex.

    The film's perfectly watchable, has great acting, but is a little bit of a non-event. The end titles came and I thought "OK, that's that then".... nothing more. If you're a fan of this style of historical political film then you probably won't be disappointed by it; if not, probably best to wait and catch this on the TV.

    (For the full graphical review please check out One Mann's Movies on the web or Facebook. Thanks).
  • When I checked out the reviews for THE FRONT RUNNER after walking out of the theater, I was surprised to find that it was being met with a generally mixed critical reception. That's not to say that THE FRONT RUNNER is some sort of masterpiece, but I definitely thought it was an interesting film, and one that feels rather timely in this day and age (for reasons that are quite obvious). Perhaps the best thing I can say about the film is that it manages to avoid the on-the-nose writing that plagued BLACKKKLANSMAN in more than a few scenes. Reitman smartly lets the film speak for itself, letting the audience draw their own connection between the events that torpedoed Senator Gary Hart's campaign over thirty years ago and similar events that have plagued other politicians over the last few years. If there's one consequence to such an approach, it's that Reitman presents a lot of ideas without ever taking a firm stand on them, failing to elaborate on ideas that almost demand further analysis - an approach that will certainly rub some the wrong way. That being said, there's a lot to enjoy here, from Hugh Jackman's great performance to Jason Reitman's directing (I quite liked the way he utilized the camera here) to Rob Simonsen's low-key electronic score to the rest of the supporting cast (with an affecting Vera Farmiga being the obvious standout). It even reminded me of a bit of I, TONYA in its analysis of the press (how would American history have been affected if not for their obsession over Hart's love life?).

    One more thing, though: it might have just been the theater I watched this in, but the sound mixing in this was atrocious. I want to watch this film again with subtitles just so that I can understand the other half of what the characters were saying.
  • Jason Reitman's film (shot on 35mm by Eric Steelberg) starts off as a Fly On The Wall treatment of Gary Hart's 1988 campaign for President, before dissolving into a typical docu-drama crawl. Too bad, as the early scenes have a certain rush of excitement and even verisimilltude. The momentum gets strangely derailed just when it should be peaking - when the Donna Rice / 'Monkey Business' sex scandal hits. Hugh Jackman is good as the candidate, even if he never quite nails Hart's voice (and, while Hart was a handsome well built guy, he didn't quite have the physique of Wolverine! - especially amusing in the lumberjack scene). Vera Farmiga and JK Simmons provide solid support as Hart's wife and campaign manager respectively. Sara Paxton gives Donna Rice a sympathy beyond the typical 'victim' stereotype, even she doesn't really look the part. It's been well chronicled that Hart's sexual escapades helped clear the path for Bill Clinton to clear that hurdle when his scandals hit (not to mention the current Prez). What THE FRONT RUNNER also shows is that Hart lacked the empathy and human dimension that Clinton had that lead to his winning the Presidency. Both Hart and Clinton were policy wonks, but, 'Slick Willie' was a fully rounded personality - love him or hate him. Hart came off like a stolid Senator from flyover country. THE FRONT RUNNER doesn't break any new ground (and offers little that will appeal to anybody under 50 who isn't a political junkie), despite it's fine start. Still, as an addition to the library of political films, it's an asset.
  • todoficina18 February 2019
    I have no idea what the 'sound departments' of the film industry today think is more important..............the words that carry the film or the added sound track that conveys mood? in this movie the sounds drowned out the words.

    i like Jackman and all other actors also gave a good performance. i like political intrigue but i nearly switched it off because a drumbeat drowned out everything for the FIRST 24 MINUTES!!

    it is definitely overlong, nearly 2 hours, but honest in the way it portrayed the press........it is one of those films i will not watch again.
  • 'The Front Runner' is a film that, despite its heavy political background, is more focused on the personal story of its titular character, Gary Hart. Reitman's film both benefits and suffers for this, depending on the type of audience member you are. Should you be expecting a dense political drama, evolving from a campaign and policy focused narrative into more of a personal crisis, you may be disappointed. The political background is present, but irrelevant in the overarching narrative, instead revealing itself to purely be a character-driven drama. 'The Front Runner' is not about the difficulties of running for president, but more about how the media can tarnish one's livelihood, and their treatment to Hart, whilst arguably justified, appears alarmingly savage when compared to Trump's America and the conspiracies plaguing his presidency. As a result, the film is surprisingly relevant today, but more down to coincidence than planned. Despite this, Jackman's performance may be a standout in his career, serving as the lifeblood of this story - his peak dramatic moments are unmatched throughout the film. This performance may well create a contender come awards season, as he skillfully fluctuates from a good-natured family man, to a paranoid mess, and everything in-between. Furthermore, the film's reluctance to take a side regarding the prevalent issues it discusses is bolstered by Jackman creating a character that is not good or bad, neither morally grey, forming someone who is undoubtable real. As a result, when Jackman is at his best, 'The Front Runner' achieves dizzying heights, serving as a relentlessly compelling character piece, however, upon his absence, which serves as a large portion of the film, it can become overly slow and laborious, leaving the audience striving for his return. Furthermore, the conclusion appears anti-climactic which, unavoidable as it may be considering this is a true story, nonetheless ends with a squeak rather than a shout. The narrative aside, the film is technically well-constructed, opening with a gorgeous long-take that establishes the time and setting with efficiency, an illusion that holds up throughout. Even the use of title-cards establishing locations are reminiscent of films made in the late-80's and early 90's, this attention to detail reminiscent of a director who cares for the source material. Reitman is, by this point, an experienced director, and his confidence is visible here, however, it feels as though the stellar direction and performances deserve more than this generic, somewhat unfulfilling narrative can provide.
  • Forget the seemingly stellar cast. You can't even hear them. I'm giving up on movies that don't meet the most basic technical criteria, i.e. decent sound that doesn't drown out all dialogues and actors who actually open their mouth when talking. The Frontrunner manages to deprive the viewer of both. It is the audio equivalent of the shakycam from ten years ago (like the 2nd and 3rd Jason Bourne movie): annoying and self destructive. Thanks but no thanks. Time is too precious to be wasted on films like this.
  • Based on the non-fiction book All the Truth Is Out: The Week Politics Went Tabloid (2014) by Matt Bai, written for the screen by Bai, Jason Reitman, and Jay Carson (Hillary Clinton's former press secretary), and directed by Reitman, The Front Runner tells the story of Colorado senator Gary Hart's (Hugh Jackman) doomed 1988 presidential campaign. The most likely candidate to win the Democratic nomination, Hart's reputation was shattered when a Miami Herald story accused him of an extramarital affair, and only three weeks into his campaign, he withdrew from the race. The film presents the events of those weeks as a seismic turning-point; when political journalism and tabloid sensationalism irrevocably fused, when private scandal became just as important to the American public as political acumen, perhaps even moreso. Aspiring to the kind of multi-character canvas of Robert Altman or early Paul Thomas Anderson, The Front Runner spreads itself far too thin, trying to take on the perspective of a plethora of characters, yet telling us very little about any of them, least of all Hart himself. And in the end, it fails to work as either a darkly satirical examination of the Hart scandal, or as a socio-political critique of the current constitutional environment in the US.

    Presenting the minutiae of why he withdrew from the race, the film examines how the implosion of his campaign is dealt with by a number of people, including his wife, Oletha "Lee" Hart (Vera Farmiga), who had asked only that he never embarrass her in public; his campaign manager, Bill Dixon (J.K. Simmons), who tried to warn Hart that the private and the public had become one; Washington Post editor Benjamin C. Bradlee (Alfred Molina), who was reluctant to wade into what he saw as tabloid territory; Hart's alleged mistress, Donna Rice (Sara Paxton), who was portrayed in the media as a bimbo homewrecker; fictional Washington Post reporter A.J. Parker (Mamoudou Athie), who covers the story with no small amount of distaste; fictional campaign scheduler Irene Kelly (Molly Ephraim), who promises Rice that she will keep her name out of the media; Miami Herald reporter Tom Fiedler (Steve Zissis), who initially broke the story of Hart's possible infidelity; Washington Post reporter Ann Devroy (Ari Graynor), who believes strength of character is just as important in a presidential candidate as policy; fictional Miami Herald publisher Bob Martindale (Kevin Pollak), who stands by the journalistic integrity of his paper; and Hart's daughter, Andrea (Kaitlyn Dever), who came out as a lesbian just prior to the scandal.

    Although the film doesn't absolve Hart of being a terrible husband, it does present him as an inherently decent man trying to protect his privacy, and that of his family, against a predatory and newly mercenary media. Depicting it as more concerned with prurience than rhetoric, the film takes a dim view of the Fourth Estate (its antecedents are films such as Ace in the Hole (1951), Absence of Malice (1981), and Mad City (1997) rather than, say, The Insider (1999) or Spotlight (2015)). Following the line of the book, Reitman posits that the Miami Herald and Fiedler (who is, along with Martindale, the de facto villain) did Hart himself, the American people, and political discourse in general a grave disservice insofar as tabloid reporting of this nature has gone on to undercut serious political debate, and has thus subverted the importance of the political process, cheapening it by way of cynicism, sensationalism, and sleaze.

    Although ostensibly about the events of 1987, much like BlacKkKlansman (2018), The Front Runner has one eye on the here and now, musing as to why a man who was merely accused of having an affair (an accusation that was never proved) had his political career destroyed, and yet a man accused of sexual misconduct on multiple occasions, a man who is on tape bragging about how he can sexually assault women with impunity, could be elected to the highest office in the land. The answer suggested by the film is that, since Hart, scandal has become just another aspect of politics, and that which destroyed Hart in 1987 barely made a dent on Bill Clinton in 1998 or Donald Trump in 2016. In this sense, lines such as Devroy's "anyone running for president must be held to a higher standard" are as much about Trump as they are Hart.

    Essentially, the film argues that the country now has a president like Trump precisely because of what happened to Hart, and in this sense, perhaps its most salient theme is that the Hart scandal represents the point at which politics became a form of entertainment, opening the floodgates to the tabloids, whilst Hart himself became a martyr to this new style of political coverage. The film drives this message home by having Bradlee tell a story about Lyndon B. Johnson, who, upon becoming president in 1963 told the media, "you're going to see a lot of women coming and going, and I expect you to show me the same discretion you showed Jack." The media ignored the infidelities of Johnson and John F. Kennedy (and Franklin D. Roosevelt), reporting only on their political activities, and Hart sees no reason why things should be any different for him. In this sense, his blindness is his hamartia, ignoring Dixon when he tells him, "it's not '72 anymore Gary. It's not even '82". The landscape had changed, and Hart's inability to change with it cost him everything.

    However, despite the fact that all of that should make for fascinating drama, The Front Runner doesn't really work. The most egregious problem is the depiction of Hart himself. For starters, it's questionable, at best, to portray him as the victim of an increasingly combative media, glossing over the fact that he himself was the architect of his ruination, sabotaging his own political career and humiliating his wife all because of his libido. In this post-#MeToo era, suggesting that a powerful man was wronged when his infidelity was exposed is more than a little naïve. Indeed, the film seems to yearn for simpler times, when potentially great men could walk the path to positions of power, unimpeded by intelligent women speaking out against them, or diligent reporters uncovering their less wholesome activities, when infidelity remained hidden from the public. The Front Runner is not a story about a man who learns that private ethical lapses have become intertwined with public policymaking. Instead, it's about a man who was unfairly destroyed by a pernicious press for doing exactly the same thing that his predecessors had gotten away with for decades. And that's a much less interesting film.

    Additionally, due to a poor script which offers Jackman little in the way of an arc, Hart barely registers as a real person, with little sense of interiority or psychological verisimilitude. Instead, he comes across as a blank slate, a cypher onto which the audience can project its own interpretation. Related to this, Reitman tells us that Hart was an outstanding candidate, offering things that others did not, and had it not been for the insidious media, he would have gone on to become a sensational president. However, the film never gets into the specifics of how exactly he was so different, what he offered that was so unique, or why he would have been such a good POTUS. Reitman asks the audience to take Hart's potential for transformative greatness on trust, never attempting to illustrate any aspect of that potential, a failing which significantly undermines his condemnation of the media.

    Elsewhere, the film tries to touch on virtually every aspect of the scandal - reporter-editor meetings discussing the moral responsibility of the press; campaign staff trying to fight back against tabloidization; gumshoe reporters hiding in bushes and stalking back alleys; the strain on Hart's marriage; the effects on Donna Rice. Ultimately, it casts its net far too wide, briefly covering topics that are crying out for a more thorough engagement. For example, at one point, Rice says to Kelly, "he's a man with power and opportunity, and that takes responsibility." That's a massive statement with a lot of thematic leg-work already built in, and serious potential for probing drama, but the film fails to do anything with it, moving on to cover something else. Indeed, Sara Paxton, despite given only two scenes of note, gives a superb performance, finding in Rice a decency and intelligence, playing her as someone who wants to keep her name out of the press because she doesn't want to embarrass her family. She's an infinitely more interesting figure than Hart himself, and the film would have benefitted immeasurably from more of her.

    The Front Runner is aesthetically fairly solid; well-directed, well-shot, well-edited. However, given how thematically relevant the Hart story is to the contemporary political climate in the US, especially the increasingly antagonistic relationship between the White House and the media, the script feels bland and overly simplistic. The core of the story is the question of whether or not the press was right to report on Hart's infidelity. Did the public need to know? Did it have any bearing on his ability to lead? The film answers all three questions with a resounding "no". However, the cumulative effect is of a scandal skimmed rather than explored, of characters glanced at rather than developed, of controversies summated rather than depicted. There are some positives - Farmiga and Paxton are both excellent, for example - but all in all, this is a missed opportunity, lacking both socio-political insight and satirical flair.
  • The movie tells a story of a disgraced presidential candidate Gary Hart, who was the front runner in 1988 but dropped out due to sexual misconduct. Sounds familiar? Yes. But let's move on. The main moral of the story is whether private aberration should effect political professionalism. Will one perform efficiently as a political figure if they misbehave in private life? Hugh Jackman as Gary Hart, is well enough, but didn't have much screen time for a main character to let us pick his head and get to know him as a politician, as a husband and father. Supporting cast, including astonishing Vera Farmiga and J.J. Simmons, did better work with equal screen time but less lines. The film never quite clarifies its own attitude toward Hart, as well as doesn't let us enough background to make solid conclusions ourselves. The Front Runner is definitely not a front runner this season
  • gpswenson2 November 2018
    In an age where politics is so fiercely polarized it was refreshing to see a film about politics that opens windows and allows the viewer to consider a number of possible conclusions. I'm glad Reitman didn't try to preach with this film or paint anyone as a villain. Even the opinions I had already settled into over the years about Hart's relationship with Rice and the role of the press were softened and reconsidered after seeing this. I like that The Front Runner made me look at this time in history from the eyes of so many people I hadn't originally considered were affected by this event. Reitman manages to keep the mood suspenseful without pushing us into hoping for any particular outcome and I think that's pretty artful. This is a film I could enjoy more than once and that I might draw different conclusions from each time I saw it depending on which character spoke to me the most that day. There's a lot going on and all of it is interesting.
  • Prismark1019 October 2019
    I wonder if Gary Hart looks at Bill Clinton and thinks why Clinton managed to survive all the allegations of womanising and Hart was blown off course.

    The answer is Clinton was never photographed on a boat called 'Monkey Business.'

    I never got the adulation that Hart got in the 1984 Democratic primaries. I also did not see anything charismatic about him. To me he was just another middle aged politician. Hart lost the primaries to Walter Mondale, but he made a strong enough showing to be a contender for the 1988 campaign.

    Although the film is called The Front Runner. Hart was just a well known name in the field of potential Democratic contenders in the early summer of 1987 and the primaries would not start until early 1988.

    Hugh Jackman plays Gary Hart. Whoever did Jackman's hair should had been fired. It looks nothing like Hart's bouffant.

    Setting his sights for the 1988 Presidential Nomination. Hart gets a campaign team together but he never gets off first gear. Within a few weeks there are rumours that Hart as been seeing a young model called Donna Rice. One newspaper had sent journalists following Rice who may had spent the night together with Hart.

    I have no idea why Jason Reitman thinks anyone wanted to see the story about Gary Hart. This is not a compelling story. Hart is from a long line of politicians who could not keep his zipper up.

    Jackman never dazzles as Hart or captures the essence of the man. He comes across as maudlin and tired rather than a chancer.

    Where the film succeeds is showing the workings of the campaign room by a strategist such as Bill Dixon (JK Simmons) or the journalists going about dealing with the sex scandal story and how it was done in the old days.
  • Real story about Colorado senator Gary Hart and his presidential run in 1988. He was the perfect candidate with great ideas, only one problem, he got caught. He was in a scandal with a mistress. Even though times were different then and private life was as transparent as it is today for politicians, it proved to be too much and he withdrew from the race. Overall great cast and a good movie.
  • ITunes featured it as the Movie of the Week with a special price of 99 cents. We felt ripped off. With such a good cast I expected a good movie but sorely was disappointed. Both my husband and I dozed off a bit while watching this! There was no plot, no sense of storyline, just a montage of scenes in a poorly executed docu-drama style. Excuse me, I'm stating to nod off just writing about it!
  • M_Exchange21 November 2018
    I'm going to rate it 2 instead of 1 star just because I laughed hard at Bill Burr and Johnny Carson's archival bits. But I didn't really attend the screening just to watch the comedic stylings of Burr and the late Johnny Carson.

    This movie seemed like it would have been far more relevant if it was released during the '90s, when the term "infotainment" was coined. As it is now, it's old hat. I was only fairly familiar with the '88 Hart scandal, yet I learned almost nothing about it, and the movie never really confronts anything that it's exploring-- issues that we've seen and experienced in the American political landscape for decades. We have known for a long time that the lines of politics and news and entertainment have blurred severely. This movie plods along well-trodden ground, and it doesn't produce a truffle.

    I think that J.K. Simmons' character phrased it best in this film when he flatly stated, "I don't give a f___." Skip it.
  • I truly wanted to give this a chance because of the great stars. But with the insipid and cloying musical score accenting how sad it is that old-fashioned mores can hold a great man like Gary Hart back, I became nauseated. The hypocrisy drips all over you like acid. Everyday every foible that can be ripped apart and exploited by Hollywood and the media fills our brains about middle class people who have traditional beliefs and did something non-PC, like the ribald and terrible drinking parties Justice Kavanaugh attended in high school (fabrications). We are not talking about religious people per say but ordinary folks that believe in ethics and values like honesty, morality, fair play, truth and temperance. If they are caught with their pants down all hell breaks loose.

    This film is non-stop speech making about how cruel, biased and unfair the world is to great men because they lie and cheat. He was not a great man so why does Gary Hart get a big-budget film to extol his wonderfulness? Simply because he is a liberal. Hollywood will do anything to support a liberal. Gary Hart's wife has stuck with him. He remains married say the credits, and Donna Rice denies they ever slept together. But photos show her in a hot and sexy t-shirt on Gary's lap with his hands all over her. They are caught on camera on a boat trip having a blast.

    Of course you should all believe this was an absolute tragedy the next time you vote because the world is so full of despicable middle-class folks with values that say you should tell people the truth about your affairs and hot babes and cheating on your wife. Gary never told the truth and he went down. He regularly chastised anyone who asked about his many affairs. Gary Hart had already lost against Mondale and was a tired, worn-out rerun trying to win the Presidency because he was a filthy rich elitist and liberal.

    The script has some good parts as when his own people want to know what happened on the damn boat. But Gary just keeps making speeches about having a personal life. We must therefore sympathize and regret such judgments the next time a liberal is exposed. Yet we could all reel off so many hate-films about people who were traditionalists and were totally trashed for committing far lesser faux pas. But the fix is definitely in as most people know when it comes to the media, Hollywood and the far-left radicals they perpetuate. Fortunately this lost big money and was a box office flop.

    However, I am sure there will be a class at Harvard teaching morals and ethics in politics and using this film as a case study in regressive American values. Gullible youths will gobble it up and nod in accord.
  • A really dreary movie to be missed at all costs. Even if I had heard of Gary Hart, minor politician, I really would not have given a tinkers-toss to revisit his miserable life.

    The movie tried to establish that the public perception of morality towards its public figures changed sometime in the 80's and that accountability for their behaviour in their private lives became news worthy. The movie implies this is a bad thing if this aspect of personal privacy deters descent candidates from applying for high office. I find this a totally morally ambiguous stance and leaves a nasty taste in the viewers mouth.

    In reality, I would suggest, people either abuse power when they had obtained power, or they were perhaps better at being discreet. I won't state the obvious that the technology was perhaps not invented either.

    Gary Hart had a series of tawdry affairs and was a serial adulterer, it is self-evident that this would discount him from achieving high office.

    Other elements that irritated, the nasty wigs, every journalist had a smart mouth, cynicism was rife, wooden acting poor script, can you tell I just wanted to die.
  • I was a volenteer at a small college in Iowa during the Presidential Caucus in 1988. I met several of the Democratic candidates and even picked some up at them airport in Des Moines. So, I consider myself to be pretty well informed on this subject.

    First, Hart was NOT a slam dunk to win the nomination, he was not a clear front runner. In fact, he was in the middle of the pack with the likes of Dukakis, Gebhardt, etc. Hart had run in 1984 and lost.

    Second, the message of this film seems to be that if only Americans could have minded their own business, visa vi Donna Rice, we would have had this incredible President that would have transcended all the failed policies of the past. This is nonsense.

    Firstly, GHW Bush was going to win in 1988 by a landslide no matter who the Democratic nomination was. Secondly, Hart was just another run of the mill liberal Democrat. He was a pretty face, along the lines of the Kennedys or a Beto. The audacity to carry on an extramarital in broad daylight during a Presidential campaign seriously called into his judgement. He was just another womanizer who claimed to support women, ala JFK, Bubba Clinton, etc.

    The filmmaker is attempting to build Gary Hart into something he wasn't, those of us old enough to remember know this for certain.
  • The movie was interesting enough, however, if the main character was a conservative, this movie would have taken a completely opposite tone. But since he is a liberal, the director paints his immoral lifestyle into a more sympathetic tone. Hollywood needs to stay out of politics. They are ruining the reasons people want to see movies.
  • The strange camera effect through which the democrats appear wiser than IRL unexplicably continues... This doesn't mean the movie is fully flawed - it raises important questions and takes a nice peek to the beginning of some careers and narratives
  • ferguson-616 November 2018
    Greetings again from the darkness. Jason Reitman has proven himself to be an outstanding filmmaker who delivers entertaining stories with insightful commentary often accompanied by biting humor. His excellent films include: THANK YOU FOR SMOKING, JUNO, UP IN THE AIR, and one of this year's most underappreciated films, TULLY. His latest is based on the book "All the Truth is Out" by Matt Bai (who also co-wrote the screenplay with Reitman and "House of Cards" Producer Jay Carson), and it tells the story of Colorado Senator Gary Hart and his derailed 1988 campaign for President.

    The film begins in 1984 when an idealistic Hart loses the Democrat party nomination to Walter Mondale, who of course, went on to lose the national election to Ronald Reagan. It then picks up as the 1988 campaign is underway and Hart is the party frontrunner, and some say the candidate most likely to win the Presidency. Hugh Jackson plays Hart and is unfortunately burdened with an ill-fitting and distracting wig meant to emulate the lush locks sported by the youthful looking Senator. Vera Famiga plays his wife Lee, and Kaitlyn Dever plays their daughter Andrea. Casting two such fine actresses matters because of what happened during the campaign.

    Senator Hart was the favored candidate of the young and the idealistic forces, though the details of his platform were never communicated clearly. Mostly, he was presented as the energetic candidate of hope versus the stodgy Republican Party that had delivered Ronald Regan for 8 years and was now looking to George Herbert Walker Bush. Everything changed for Hart when rumors of marital infidelity, and possibly even an open marriage, began to circulate. When the media asked him, he was defiant ... at times snapping in anger that his personal life was no one's business.

    We are taken inside the campaign via many familiar faces, including campaign manager Bill Dixon played by JK Simmons, and a terrific turn by Molly Ephraim as staffer Irene Kelly. We are invited on board the aptly named party yacht "Monkey Business" when Hart first meets Donna Rice (Sara Paxton), setting off what could considered be the birth of political gossip-columns. The Herald and Washington Post are key players here, as are editor Ben Bradlee (Alfred Molina) and iconic journalist Bob Woodward. Apparently this is supposed to show us how politics and the media coverage of politics changed with Gary Hart.

    Where the movie lets us down is in not providing any explanation to why Hart was the front runner, whether the U.S. or even the democratic party missed out on a great (or even competent) President, and how in the world Hart was so clueless as to why citizens might have an interest in his personal life activities that included sleeping with a woman (or women) that weren't his wife. By the way, the reason for the last one is character ... and we've since learned it's not as important as what we might have once thought. These are all key issues as to why this is even a story, and whether or not it's interesting enough to re-tell.

    Instead of details, we are bombarded with overlapping dialogue and frenetic editing designed to generate some buzz and energy. The reality is that Gary Hart was really not that interesting, and in fact, by denying the importance of character, he thumbed his nose at his supporters. This blip on American history is simply not enough to justify a 2 hour a movie, and Mr. Jackman never seems able to capture the essence of Hart (whatever that essence might have been). There is obvious relevance to how today's press treats personal stories, but a bland candidate makes for a bland movie.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Hugh Jackman winning in his run for pres of USA, gets accused of adultery, drops out. End

    WTF. HORRIBLE WRITING, PACING, SHOTS/CINEMATOGRAPHY DID I SAY PACING? The movie could not decide if it was for or against Gary Hart committing adultery or on the argument of if personal life should factor into such a campaign.

    Only thing keeping it from a 5 was Hugh Jackman and JK Simmons, none of the actors were bad, and my main blokes were great as always.

    Short review, Wtf Hugh
  • pilot100918 August 2019
    Starts off like a newsroom documentary and gets worse as it progresses, may be of interest to U S viewers who have some context for it but to non US political aware just a confused mess.
  • mandagrammy17 February 2019
    Although you can't fault the top notch performances in this film, it felt devoid of something. I felt as if they were only skimming over the story rather than giving us a truly in depth look into this interesting tale of success and failure. It does, however, feel very timely for what is very current today. I enjoyed the film, but have no need to see it again in future.
  • Remember growing up the scandal of one U.S. Senator Gary Hart and how his affair and love making drama with a hot and sexy Donna Rice would ruin and end his presidential ambitions. As for the late 1980's this kind of stuff was major news in the media and political world as then the society was just starting to carve up tabloid like gossip. And with this work called "The Front Runner'" it's a showcase of how scandal and media would destroy a man's political life. The film blends well with how media and politics rub with one another as it's front page sensation. Also the movie is well supported with themes of trust, ethics, accountability, guilt, and morality.

    After 1984 when U.S. senator Gary Hart(Hugh Jackman) had a second place finish in the democratic primary he returns four years later for the 1988 run as the top favored donkey to win the nomination. As he's a different kind a Colorado western guy who talks technology, jobs, and peace all while appealing to the youth vote. At the time Hart feels comfortable with the press, though soon he sees just what a media sideshow it has become as questions and past statements are personal and revealing.

    When the press and media does detective like spy work on Hart from airports to townhouses and campaign stops it's clear that life and privacy is a no win for Gary. Overall very very good film that takes you back to the times of the late 80's just to see how powerful that the press and media can be when it reveals secrets of moral and ethic choices as it's clear it changes the game for the powerful as Gary Hart would discover and the nation would see privacy and actions are no longer a private right and when revealed moral and emotional guilt changes things forever as in 1988 this scandal was just the start for a scandal hungry media to play wolf on politics, and powerful candidates who wanted more.
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