"highlights the impact media has on the public. It shows how easy it is to twist a situation and how the public can be easily manipulated into believing everything"
Based on the book All the Truth Is Out: The Week Politics Went Tabloid, The Front Runner analyses the impact media has on politics and their power to influence the public. Set in the 1988 Presidential run, the film focuses on Gary Hart’s campaign to become President and how an extramarital affair ruined his chance to be elected three weeks before the election, when everyone thought he was going to win.
Directed by Jason Reitman, the film has a steady pace marked by several moments in the campaign. Each sequence is cut using a title that describes the location and states the time, as to remind the audience how fast time goes during a Presidential campaign.
The camera focuses on close ups on the actors to mark every single change in their expressions, in order to capture the essence of a person during one of the most challenging times of their lives. The story is also told through the eyes of the media and reality, as to remember that there is always two versions of the same story, the truth and the effect that what is reported has on reality.
As a whole, the cast ensemble is outstanding in its entirety while bringing to the screen this story. J.K. Simmons, Alfred Molina, Jenna Kanell and Courtney Ford, to name a few, bring to the screen strong performances that help build the context in the election of 1988, a world slightly different from today in which Media was starting to really uncover the power they had over information.
Hugh Jackman performance as Senator Hart is strong and powerful; he is capable of capturing Hart’s resolution as well as his steadfast belief that a candidate’s only job is to talk about the future of the Country and the projects to make sure that the Economy will prosper. Jackman portrayal of this man is honest and passionate, especially when the Senator's private life gets exposed, and it is refreshing to see him working on a more serious project after an eclectic career.
Alongside him, Vera Farmiga portrays Lee Hart with elegance and fragility; playing the part of a woman that finds herself in the middle of a scandal and still has to show unconditional support for her husband, is not an easy task, especially in a moment in time in which women everywhere are finding the courage to use their voices to express their opinion and share their experiences, while Lee had to cover her husband’s indiscretions.
Released in a moment in history in which women are changing the narrative of their past, but also in which ignorance, bigotry and sexism still have the upper hand, The Front Runner highlights the impact media has on the public. It shows how easy it is to twist a situation and how the public can be easily manipulated into believing everything. It also showcases how, most of the time, the truth is irrelevant as long as what is being reported will sell newspapers.