The Front Runner

Certificate 15


(2018) 113 mins

Director: Jason Reitman
Writers: Matt Bai, Jay Carson
Cinematography: Eric Steelberg
Production Design: Steve Saklad
Music: Rob Simonsen



Gary Hart, a U.S. senator from Colorado, is the widely accepted front-runner in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination. After losing the 1984 nomination to vice-president Walter Mondale, Hart (Hugh Jackman) decides to run for President of the United States. In the course of his campaign, and against the advice of his manager Bill Dixon (J K Simmons), Hart challenges the press and public to “follow him around” while he’s not campaigning on weekends. This proves to be a mistake: in 1987, incriminating photos of him with journalist Donna Rice (Sara  Paxton) are published by the Miami Herald. Hart tries to use a news event to clear his name, but to no avail. Disgraced, he is forced to drop out of the campaign, while his wife Lee (Vera Farmiga) remains loyally by his side.

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“With a script co-written by Reitman, policy advisor Jay Carson and journalist Matt Bai, whose book serves as inspiration, as well as a deft infusion of real footage from the time, 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. The dialogue has a less smug Sorkinesque beat to it and Reitman choreographs scenes of chaos with finesse, from frenzied campaign headquarters to tense newsroom meetings.”  The Guardian

At the heart of this kinetic ensemble is Jackman, dishing up one of his finest performances yet as the charismatic politician whose worst opponent is his own libido. The rightness or wrongness of his actions, and of his treatment by the press, is left for us to decide. By embracing all of Hart’s ambiguities — his charm, his idealism, his passion, his stubbornness, his prickliness, his selfishness and his weakness — Jackman admirably doesn’t make it any easier for us.”  Empire

The Front Runner succeeds in creating a sense of the machinations of a political campaign, and the journalistic monster that seems to constantly threaten to consume it. The film also showcases a number of fine performances from character actors who always seem to deliver, particularly through the lens of a talented director such as Reitman.”  Radio Times

Wed 11 Sep Vernham Dean
Sat 14 Sep Outside The Box
Sun 06 Oct Chilworth
Thu 21 Nov Stradbroke
Fri 22 Nov Tatworth
Thu 19 Dec Waterlooville


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