Today I went to see the movie “The Ides of March” starring George Clooney and Ryan Gosling. If you like political dramas, I think you’ll like this one. Here are a few paragraphs about it from the L.A. Times:
The Ides of March is directed by George Clooney who headlines along with a powerhouse cast that includes Ryan Gosling, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Giamatti, Evan Rachel Wood, Marisa Tomei and Jeffrey Wright.
Sharing the writing credit with Clooney and frequent collaborator Grant Heslov is Beau Willimon, a former political operative who turned his experience working for Hillary Rodham Clinton, Howard Dean, Bill Bradley and others into “Farragut North,” a play named after a Washington, D.C. Metro stop that is this film’s source material.
The setting is the March Ohio Democratic primary, with 161 convention delegates at stake, and the man is Stephen Meyers (Ryan Gosling). He is not just the spokesman for the surging Gov. Mike Morris (George Clooney); he is a true believer, someone who has “drunk the Kool-Aid” and is convinced that the candidate is a principled man who could make a difference in people’s lives.
And no wonder. The governor is an off-stage character in the play, but as portrayed by Clooney, Morris is the kind of fighting liberal a lot of Democrats wish Barack Obama would be. Potential Republican viewers, however, need not worry: This is too bleak a world for anyone to come off as completely heroic.
Meyers’ boss, exceptionally played by Hoffman, is campaign manager Paul Zara, a rumpled veteran of half a dozen presidential campaigns. Going toe-to-toe with him in an equally strong performance is Giamatti as Tom Duffy, the manager for Morris’ main rival.
If anything, Duffy is even more cutthroat than his opposite number, telling Meyers, whose skills he admires, that Democrats should emulate the Republicans: “They’re tougher, more disciplined than we are. It’s about time we learned from them.”
Not lacking in guile or toughness are the other key players. Tomei is Ida Horowicz, a hard-driving New York Times reporter who is as ruthless and cynical as any of the people she covers. And Wright is appropriately enigmatic as another presidential candidate trying to make the best possible deal for himself.
And then there is Molly Stearns, an intern on the campaign who is young enough to think she’s sophisticated when really she is not. Played with energy and panache by Wood, Stearns doesn’t hesitate to set her cap for the press spokesman and the flirtation between these two is nicely credible.
The reviewer didn’t particularly like the movie, but having spent time volunteering with many campaigns in the past from city council to presidential nomination, I enjoyed it. It could have been longer though, and it certainly leaves room for a sequel. See what you think.