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 decides to run for President of the United States. At one point during his campaign, against the will of his manager Bill Dixon, Hart challenges the press and public to "follow him around" while he's not campaigning on weekends. This proves to be a mistake when in 1987, photos of him and journalist Donna Rice are published by Miami Herald Reporters. In a desperate attempt to clear his name, Hart tries to fix his reputation at a news event concerning the affair but to no avail. Because of the consequences of his actions, Hart is disgraced, berated by Dixon, and forced to drop out of the campaign while his wife Oletha remains to be close with him. Donna also announces that she has personally denied sleeping with the now former senator..
Reunites Mike Judge and Toby Huss who worked together on the animated series King of the Hill (1997). See more »
When Hart goes to phone Donna Rice from a pay phone at the airport, the top of a yellow 'Caution Wet Floor' sign can be seen. The sign is of a modern style/ construction which would not have been in production during the 1980s. See more »
Written by Gene Clark
Performed by Gene Clark
Published by Irving Music, Inc.
Courtesy of A&M Records under license from Universal Music Enterprises See more »
A script that never develops its central character
The acting in this movie is fine. The problem lies in the script. Near the end it gives Lee Hart, and even Donna Rice, scenes that allow us to get to know them somewhat, see what's inside them. We never get that for Gary Hart, who is far and away the most important character in this movie. We never see what made Hart so popular, especially with younger voters. We never get to see him explain important issues to the masses, though we are told that he does that very effectively. We never get scenes with him in which he gives us a hint of why he risks his career with his extra-marital affairs. He comes off as very cold, very distant, and that's problematic for a central character. As a result, we have no reason to feel anything when his career is finally destroyed.
To an extent, this is about the media's intrusion into the privacy of public officials, but that isn't examined. Nor is there any attempt to suggest a change over time to today, when a sitting president can boast about extra-marital affairs and not suffer any loss of popularity.
In the end, I was left wondering why this story was being told in 2018. It doesn't make us understand Hart, or feel sorry for him. It doesn't tell us anything either about 1988 or our own era. It doesn't make Hart a character we can feel for when he falls, because it never shows him to us as a great if flawed man. (Several characters tell us he is great, but that's not the same thing.) What was the point of filming it?
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