The Front Runner (2018) Poster

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7/10
Jason Reitman's Second Film Of The Year Makes For Thought-Provoking Entertainment
roblesar9921 September 2018
When I checked out the reviews for THE FRONT RUNNER after walking out of the theater, I was surprised to find that it was being met with a generally mixed critical reception. That's not to say that THE FRONT RUNNER is some sort of masterpiece, but I definitely thought it was an interesting film, and one that feels rather timely in this day and age (for reasons that are quite obvious). Perhaps the best thing I can say about the film is that it manages to avoid the on-the-nose writing that plagued BLACKKKLANSMAN in more than a few scenes. Reitman smartly lets the film speak for itself, letting the audience draw their own connection between the events that torpedoed Senator Gary Hart's campaign over thirty years ago and similar events that have plagued other politicians over the last few years. If there's one consequence to such an approach, it's that Reitman presents a lot of ideas without ever taking a firm stand on them, failing to elaborate on ideas that almost demand further analysis - an approach that will certainly rub some the wrong way. That being said, there's a lot to enjoy here, from Hugh Jackman's great performance to Jason Reitman's directing (I quite liked the way he utilized the camera here) to Rob Simonsen's low-key electronic score to the rest of the supporting cast (with an affecting Vera Farmiga being the obvious standout). It even reminded me of a bit of I, TONYA in its analysis of the press (how would American history have been affected if not for their obsession over Hart's love life?).

One more thing, though: it might have just been the theater I watched this in, but the sound mixing in this was atrocious. I want to watch this film again with subtitles just so that I can understand the other half of what the characters were saying.
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6/10
A vehicle for Jackman, but little else
rorymarsh0016 October 2018
'The Front Runner' is a film that, despite its heavy political background, is more focused on the personal story of its titular character, Gary Hart. Reitman's film both benefits and suffers for this, depending on the type of audience member you are. Should you be expecting a dense political drama, evolving from a campaign and policy focused narrative into more of a personal crisis, you may be disappointed. The political background is present, but irrelevant in the overarching narrative, instead revealing itself to purely be a character-driven drama. 'The Front Runner' is not about the difficulties of running for president, but more about how the media can tarnish one's livelihood, and their treatment to Hart, whilst arguably justified, appears alarmingly savage when compared to Trump's America and the conspiracies plaguing his presidency. As a result, the film is surprisingly relevant today, but more down to coincidence than planned. Despite this, Jackman's performance may be a standout in his career, serving as the lifeblood of this story - his peak dramatic moments are unmatched throughout the film. This performance may well create a contender come awards season, as he skillfully fluctuates from a good-natured family man, to a paranoid mess, and everything in-between. Furthermore, the film's reluctance to take a side regarding the prevalent issues it discusses is bolstered by Jackman creating a character that is not good or bad, neither morally grey, forming someone who is undoubtable real. As a result, when Jackman is at his best, 'The Front Runner' achieves dizzying heights, serving as a relentlessly compelling character piece, however, upon his absence, which serves as a large portion of the film, it can become overly slow and laborious, leaving the audience striving for his return. Furthermore, the conclusion appears anti-climactic which, unavoidable as it may be considering this is a true story, nonetheless ends with a squeak rather than a shout. The narrative aside, the film is technically well-constructed, opening with a gorgeous long-take that establishes the time and setting with efficiency, an illusion that holds up throughout. Even the use of title-cards establishing locations are reminiscent of films made in the late-80's and early 90's, this attention to detail reminiscent of a director who cares for the source material. Reitman is, by this point, an experienced director, and his confidence is visible here, however, it feels as though the stellar direction and performances deserve more than this generic, somewhat unfulfilling narrative can provide.
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7/10
Strong acting
rolandcat16 October 2018
Warning: Spoilers
Show how when you hide something and get found out you have to leave office. The film really takes you back to an era when the World was controlled by the press and there was big money in it.

Donald Trump plays his cards in a different way. Amazing when you see this film. Times have changed. I saw Farenheit 11 9 and it's breathtakingly different to contrast the two films.
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7/10
Unfortunately not a front runner
KarenAM14 October 2018
The movie tells a story of a disgraced presidential candidate Gary Hart, who was the front runner in 1988 but dropped out due to sexual misconduct. Sounds familiar? Yes. But let's move on. The main moral of the story is whether private aberration should effect political professionalism. Will one perform efficiently as a political figure if they misbehave in private life? Hugh Jackman as Gary Hart, is well enough, but didn't have much screen time for a main character to let us pick his head and get to know him as a politician, as a husband and father. Supporting cast, including astonishing Vera Farmiga and J.J. Simmons, did better work with equal screen time but less lines. The film never quite clarifies its own attitude toward Hart, as well as doesn't let us enough background to make solid conclusions ourselves. The Front Runner is definitely not a front runner this season
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5/10
Just mediocre at best
moveebuff195316 September 2018
Just saw The Front Runner at TIFF tonight. Only went to see it because Hugh Jackman & Vera Farmega are two of my favourite actors (I'm Ukrainian background) I was cautiously hopeful that there would be something intriguing to this story that I was already familiar with. Slow to start, I kept waiting for that aha moment but it never really appeared. The Front Runner basically shows the hard working back room people who lead a campaign for whom they are willing to sacrifice their time & energy for a person they strongly believe in. I don't know why Hugh Jackman was cast as the lead as he is Australian so we know he's faking his American accent and I don't know why he agreed to the role. Vera Farmiga played the role well but there wasn't much to it. I doubt if this will even open in theatres. It will probably go straight to rental.
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