Review: The Front Runner
Does it matter to you?
In 1988, Gary Hart (Hugh Jackman) was considered the front runner for the Democratic nomination for president. Within three weeks, he's caught in a cheating scandal and it all comes crashing down.
I've only heard Gary Hart's name in passing. I was way too young to recall any of these events so I went in quite blind. Jason Reitman is a director I've always enjoyed and his style is well suited for a film like this.
I know it's getting pretty mediocre reviews but I actually liked The Front Runner. I like films about journalism and that's what this film was ultimately about; how journalists can turn the tide in someone's political career. Reitman spends a lot of this film not focusing on his leads in Jackman, Vera Farmiga or JK Simmons, but just checking in on the chatter around them. A news crew arguing how to frame a shot, the various opinions of the campaign workers, and discussions about how to write stories by the Miami Herald and the Washington Post. Because of that, this really doesn't even feel like Jackson's film. He's just the common denominator for all of these people.
Jackson gives a good performance but I was more intrigued by some of the others. Mamoudou Athie's AJ, a reporter with the Washington Post who doesn't want his work to turn into tabloid bullshit. His colleague, Ann (Ari Graynor) who is the only one who brings up how Hart doesn't respect women. Irene and Kevin (Molly Ephraim and Chris Coy) who are two of Hart's campaign workers. The only character I flat out didn't like was one played by Tommy Dewey. And it's not really because of the character itself, it's that Reitman shoots him like he's trying to sell the actor as being "sexy." The camera lingers on him awkwardly every time he's on screen.
It takes a while to get off its feet and it's not as exciting as Spotlight or All The President's Men, but it works for an afternoon matinee that you're not expecting to be too deep.
Memorable Quote: "but he wants to lead our country..." - Ann (Ari Graynor)