Theatrical Reviews

The Front Runner Review

Front Runner 1

Studio:
Sony Pictures Releasing   

What’s It About?
Frontrunner Gary Hart is leading incumbent Ronald Reagan, 25 years his senior, in the 1988 Presidential elections, but when news breaks of an extramarital affair, Hart’s chances nosedive.   

Who’s In It?
Hugh Jackman (X-Men, Les Miserables, & more recently The Greatest Showman)
Vera Farmiga (The Departed, Up In The Air, & more recently The Commuter)   

Other notables include:
J K Simmons (Juno, Whiplash, & more recently Justice League)
Kaitlyn Dever (Justified, Detroit, & more recently Beautiful Boy)   

Director: Jason Reitman (Juno, Up In The Air, & more recently Tully)   

Audiences Expect:
In light of recent events and the increased role of social media, Jason Reitman shines a light on the 1988 Presidential elections when a leading hopeful was toppled by the media, following a marital indiscretion.
Somehow managing to tread the line between backing and demonising Hart, Reitman raises the question on whether an extramarital affair makes a politician unsuitable for high office – particularly when running on a slogan involving ethics. After all if his wife can’t trust him, then how can the country?
The ever-likeable Hugh Jackman plays the ever likeable Gary Hart. A savvy, engaging and progressive politician, Hart is at one point the front runner in the 1988 Presidential election, polling way ahead of the Republican incumbent Ronald Reagan. But Hart’s reasonable refusal to allow the media into his private life, only fuelled the media’s appetite, and once rumours swelled regarding his supposed womanising, it was only a matter of time.
Hugh Jackman somehow manages to brilliantly convey the conflicting sides of Hart’s personality, and he is given strong support from the likes of J K Simmons Molly Ephraim and Alfred Molina, but unfortunately despite the great importance attached to it, his family is given limited screen time, and the talented Vera Farmiga and Kaitlyn Dever are criminally underused.
That said, this should not detract from a thoroughly absorbing film with a great central performance.     

In A Nutshell:
An interesting take on the role and power of the tabloid media, with a stirring performance from Hugh Jackman.     

Highlight:
Hugh Jackman’s performance
The questions Jason Reitman raises  

Lowpoint:
Vera Farmiga and Kaitlyn Dever are criminally underused


Certificate: 15

EDITOR’S CHOICE