I had been looking forward to seeing ‘The Front Runner’ but also there was also something about it that I was dreading. Maybe it’s the same reason I refuse to read some of the quarterback things written about Hillary Clinton’s campaign – these things still sting. I remember the subject of the story here well, although watching the film, I realize my memory of it isn’t as vivid: I learned a lot from the film.
But I really did not enjoy the film, and it stems from the performance of Hugh Jackman, who plays Gafy Hart. I never felt the character as a whole, there is something very awkward and stilted in his performance. He didn’t embody the man’s charisma, and even his flaws seem shallow. I never saw in Jackman the brilliance of Gary Hart, and I cared less about the character than the human being.
That being said, isn’t it weird that this film is coming in right now? With all the unpresidential things that are happening, it is so dated to see a candidate derail his campaign because of an extramarital affair. But those were he times then. Director Jason Reitman isn’t very subtle about which side he is on – he paints the press as concerned more about entertainment than hard news. In this day and age, this is certainly a given, and I guess the difference is that nowadays everyone knows it – the audience is far more sophisticated nowadays, and the ‘lecture’ feels pointless.
I think i would have liked it better if Hugh Jackman had made a movie of Patricia Nell Warren’s ‘The Front Runner.’ (Yes, I know there is a tv movie out there somewhere)