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The Front Runner (2018) Reviewed by Jay

Jay´s Review

You may not remember when U.S. Representative Gary Hart threw down a challenge to the press in 1987: "Put a tail on me!" Well, I remember! And guess what happened? Going in, Hart had the edge, AND, according to some accounts, he also had the hair. SPOILER: this is based on real life, so don't expect a Hollywood ending.
Writer/Director Jason Reitman ("Thank You for Smoking") working with Matt Bai and Jay Carson toss our hats into a presidential campaign, with a charismatic front runner and his genial relationship with the main-stream press. Ever since the Watergate Scandal in 1972, journalists want their own Pulitzer. We had already seen the advent of "Gotcha!" journalism but here we get to watch the old guard agonize over it. They admit they had covered up for LBJ and JFK but weren't expecting a greenhorn journalist to test their resolve.
Part of Reitman's outstanding cast:
  • * Hugh Jackman ("The Greatest Showman") Gary Hart is the quintessential politician, handsome, articulate and photogenic; but like so many before him and since, he has "A Zipper Problem." (His pants won't stay zipped!) He is convinced that paparazzi only cover Hollywood, not the old boy's club in D.C.
  • * Vera Farmiga ("Skin") Lee has the quintessential politician's wife problem...how does it go? Oh yeah, "Stand by Your Man!" This wonderful pianist had only asked that her husband never embarrass her.
  • * J.K. Simmons ("American Dad") Bill Dixon has the thankless task of trying to talk some sense into his volatile candidate.
  • * Sara Paxton ("Sundown") Donna Rice was just going along for the ride. She "liked Hart's positions!"
  • * Alfred Molina ("Red") Ben Bradlee has had first-hand experience with "Gotcha!" journalism. He's the executive editor of The Washington Post and states their rationale very clearly.
  • * R.J. Brown ("The Carrie Diaries") Bill Martin is the tabloid reporter who starts Hartdown that slippery slope. He's polite, but relentless.
This R-rated outing clocks in at under two hours, but expect profanity, political maneuvering and wait'll you see who gets thrown under the bus. If you don't remember, you'll be disappointed, but not surprised.
I would be surprised AND disappointed if Jackman doesn't get an Academy Award nomination for this one. He is beyond terrific!
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Check out this preview:
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