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The Ides of March (2011)

 -  Drama  -  7 October 2011 (USA)
7.2
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 164,167 users   Metascore: 67/100
Reviews: 269 user | 401 critic | 43 from Metacritic.com

An idealistic staffer for a new presidential candidate gets a crash course on dirty politics during his stint on the campaign trail.

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(screenplay), (screenplay), 2 more credits »
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Title: The Ides of March (2011)

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 11 wins & 27 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Jack Stearns
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Mike (as Yuriy Sardarov)
Bella Ivory ...
Jenny
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Sue
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Campaign Editor
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Storyline

Stephen Meyers is a young idealist who's brilliant at communications, is second in command of Governor Mike Morris's presidential campaign, and is a true believer. In the middle of the Ohio primary, the campaign manager of Morris's opponent asks Meyers to meet; he offers him a job. At the same time, Morris's negotiations for the endorsement of the man in third place, a North Carolina Senator, hit a snag. A young campaign intern, Molly Stearns, gets Stephen's romantic attention. Republicans have a trick up their sleeve; Stephen may be too trusting, and Molly has a secret. What's most important, career, victory, or virtue? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Ambition seduces. Power corrupts. See more »

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for pervasive language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

7 October 2011 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Farragut North  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$12,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$10,470,143 (USA) (7 October 2011)

Gross:

$40,962,534 (USA) (6 January 2012)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

| |

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

George Clooney grew up in the greater Cincinnati area where the movie was filmed. See more »

Goofs

Ryan Gosling's character mistakenly refers to the two lecterns on the stage as podiums when he asks: "Are we going to put risers under these podiums?" A podium is a platform on which the speaker and lectern stand. A lectern is not a podium. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Stephen Meyers: I'm not a Christian. I'm not an Atheist. I'm not Jewish. I'm not Muslim. My religion, what I believe in is called the Constitution of United States of America.
See more »

Connections

Featured in At the Movies: Episode #9.1 (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

Let's Get Away From It All
Written by Tom Adair and Matt Dennis
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
No heroes, no villains, just real human beings - and what could be scarier?
30 December 2011 | by (Australia) – See all my reviews

Corruption is such a nasty word. It is universally steeped in negative connotation, and is a term applied theoretically to a selfish, unjust misuse of power. Yet, realistically, this evil becomes hard to determine, and many attempts at justification can be made using alternate terms, such as "motivated" or "single-minded". Many of the best social dramas have explored this ambiguous area: in House of Sand and Fog (2003) an unfairly biased policeman was put to work, for once, for the supposed sympathetic protagonist, but we still didn't find it excusable; more recently, in the fiercely intense Contagion, the top doctor leaked confidential information in order to place his wife's chances of survival above the others – in this case, we can understand his position, but the injustice at hand here is still undeniable.

It is very unfortunate in society that the places where corruption is most prevalent are those in which justice and citizenship is supposed to be the absolute goal. Contagion and other similar films expose this in the medical industry, films like L.A Confidential (1997) in the police force, and now George Clooney, as both writer and director, has brought us another razor-sharp political drama that reveals how cutthroat and sinister working in the government can be, even if creating a "free world" is purportedly the overall goal.

Ryan Gosling portrays another robust yet ultimately inadequate young businessman attempting to excel in a challenging line of work. In Fracture (2007) it was the legal system, where, again, his character, Willy Beachum, faced this same temptation when his partners urged him to falsify evidence in order to put away a fiend that they knew to be guilty, yet could find no proof against. Willy resisted admirably, but Stephen Meyers, his more competent yet far less righteous character in The Ides of March, has rather weak moral resolve. He is the talented and favoured staffer of presidential candidate Governor Mike Morris (Clooney), a man whose political philosophies he genuinely supports, and is very anxious to see become president. However, Morris is a man who sticks firmly to his principles and is unwilling to make a strategic compromise. It is an insistence that frustrates Stephen, and indeed his entire team as they see guaranteed victory is within their grasp if he only concedes to endorse the slightly disagreeable Senator Thompson (although neither Jeffrey Wright nor Clooney exactly make it clear what it is that Morris dislikes about him). It is a case of breaking a few eggs to make a good cake, and as Morris continues refusing to do so, pressures mount, the opposition begins to gain the upper hand, and a highly riveting series of complications arises.

Audiences will be happy to hear that they will not have to sit through a ridiculous amount of dry, technical passages of dialogue, sift through needlessly enigmatic storytelling methods and poke and prod their way through murky themes in order to find value in the film. The broader ideas are not all it has to offer, but lie over the top of the solid story foundations to be properly examined upon the reflection that takes place after viewing, as they should. This piece also works as a slickly entertaining, enthralling crime thriller. For while the intricate world of politics can arguably be likened to a game of chess, as it is in the film, the pieces are not stone figures, they are real people whose entire lives become ruined when they are captured by the opposing side/ Seeing as beyond the point of the Senator Thompson dilemma, the plot involves a string of juicy surprises, I shouldn't really reveal much more. All I will say is that Paul Giamati, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Evan Rachel Wood and Marisa Tomei all give exceptional performances as the key figures involved, and that each of their characters, and at one stage or another, harbours a deadly secret.

Clooney's direction is remarkably apt, particularly in a wordless scene in which Hoffman's character is given aggravating news from Morris inside his car, and we become cheeky onlookers from the outside, not even seeing their faces. He has also done well adapting beau Willimon's play Farrugat North with the help of Oscar-nominated screenplay writer Grant Henslov (Good Night, and Good Luck) and the playwright himself. His performance as Morris is fine work also, but, for the common audience at least, the film really belongs to Gosling, who proves once again that he is more than just an exceptionally handsome teen idol, but the most convincing and versatile young actor since Johnny Depp, with Max Minghella (The Social Network) and Jennifer Ehle topping things off beautifully as part of the supporting cast.


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