By Mary Cox
It is 1988 and Gary Hart has the Presidency in the bag then the unspeakable happens; he has an affair with Donna Rice who appears to be a blonde bimbo. Thirty years later, that seems to be the norm but in 1988 it was shocking and Hart was forced to drop out of the race.
When Hart boards a yacht called, “Monkey Business” you want to scream, “Run as fast as you can in the opposite direction!” But, he didn’t and the rest is history and a movie.
Academy Award Nominee Hugh Jackman, in an awful hair piece, plays Gary Hart. Hart’s wife, Lee is played by Academy Award Nominee Vera Farmiga. Academy Award Winner J. K. Simmons is Bill Dixon, Hart’s campaign manager. Some of the best and frustrating scenes are between Hart and Dixon when Dixon is trying to make Hart realize that anyone running for President doesn’t have a personal life; everything they do is fair fodder for the National media.
Alford Molina, who looks absolutely nothing like Ben Bradlee plays Ben Bradlee. Unfortunately, even make-up couldn’t make him resemble Bradlee. Bradlee is a minor role so the casting of Molina seems strange to me. Sara Paxton creates the very sympathetic character of Donna Rice. Molly Ephraim shines as a political intern, Irene Kelly. I hope to see more of Ephraim in the future and I think we will.
Jason Reitman, Matt Bai, and Jay Carson wrote this biopic based on the book by Bai, “All the Truth is Out.” Reitman also directed. It drug a little in places and it was so confusing who was who. The writers were so familiar with the material that they forgot that many of the people viewing this movie didn’t have a clue who these people were. When a new person came into view, they needed to identify them with a small tag line since they were real people not fictional characters.
Remembering the Donna Rice debacle, I found this film interesting but I am not so sure younger audiences will. It does show audiences just how far our morals have come as a country in the last thirty years. Political candidates today can have a myriad of affairs and multiple divorces and no one seems to care while that was a major scandal in 1988.
“Front Runner” is showing at The Tivoli in U City and if you want to drive down 255 to Ronnies in South County. Better yet, wait and see it on Netflix or get it from Red Box.