The Front Runner
Dir: Jason Reitman
In Jason Reitman’s new film The Front Runner, he takes us back to 1988 as US senator Gary Hart, played by Hugh Jackman, seemed like a no brainer for the Democratic presidential nomination. He was handsome, charming, intelligent and his relative youth (25 years younger than sitting president Ronald Reagan) made him popular with younger voters. But he was also a private man, uneasy when attention moved away from his potential policies and on to his personal life. He didn’t see how posing with his wife and daughter on the front of People magazine would benefit him as a politician.
The irony of being so guarded was that journalists were even more eager to find out about his life behind closed doors and not without reason. For a while, whispers of infidelity had followed Hart. As rumours turned into a legitimate, albeit rushed and improperly handled, story, Hart was forced to finally open up to the public.
With a script co-written by Reitman, policy adviser Jay Carson and journalist Matt Bai, there’s an authenticity underpinning the portrayal of events in The Front Runner that lifts it above the less-than-groundbreaking set-up. We’ve seen dramatised stories of cheating politicians a great many times but there’s a refreshing lack of sensationalism, given the writing team, and events feel presented truthfully but also with style.
Released in the US last November; on general release in Europe and Australia this month