I went to see this movie with a meetup group the other night, and it turned out I was the youngest in the crew. At dinner before the film, some of the others were talking about the Gary Hart scandal (the subject of the movie we were about to see) and what they all remembered from it, and the following political scandals. I, on the other hand, had never even heard this story before, hence why I was interested in seeing this film (plus director Jason Reitman and actor Hugh Jackman).
For those of you, like me, who didn’t know this story before hand in 1988 Gary Hart was the front runner for the democratic presidential nomination. In all likelyhood, he was on board to take the White House. Then he got caught up in a sex scandal, and his political aspirations went to hell.
It’s interesting on the surface, but it turns out, it doesn’t really fill a whole movie that well. I was so incredibly bored throughout, I think I looked at my watch every two minutes for the second half. And that was despite some great performances. Hugh Jackman puts his signature charm and charisma to good use, and Vera Farmiga slays. They just weren’t enough to keep my attention.
The screening I was at was followed by a Q&A with Jason Reitman. One thing he explained that I wish I had been privy to beforehand was that at any given point in the film, there were always two or three conversations happening at once. Maybe there was newscaster on a tv screen, maybe it was more thru body language, but there were always disparate things happening. It’s not possible to catch every bit at the same time. The idea being to force the audience to decide, what are you going to pay attention to. What’s important? What’s the angle of the story that matters to you? And what is just noise? Had I tapped into that, I think it would have been a more engaging film, noticing and understanding the different sides of the same story happening at the same time. But I didn’t pick up on it.
The Front Runner – \m/ \m/