1988. Gary Hart is in the midst of his second bid for the Democratic Candidate for President of the United States, with polling placing him far ahead of (eventual Nominee) Michael Dukakis. After serving as a U.S. Senator from Colorado for twelve years ('75 to '87), Hart seemed destined for greatness - a virile, hopeful figure to lead America into the future.
Then came the scandal, as Hart was accused by members of the media of engaging in an extramarital affair. In response, the Senator infamously laid down the gauntlet: “follow me around. I don’t care. I’m serious. If anybody wants to put a tail on me, go ahead. They’ll be very bored.” Reporters took Hart up on that challenge, and exposed his longtime relationship with Donna Rice, swiftly bringing an end to his run.
The Front Runner is Jason Reitman's dramatic re-telling of these rather chaotic events, with Hugh Jackman donning Hart's blue suits, friendly smile, and somewhat naive belief in the wholesomeness of the American political process. This is the second film Reitman's churning out in quick succession - after Tully, his mostly underwhelming reunion with Young Adult star Charlize Theron - and looks to be an "of the moment" historical recollection that borders on out-and-out satire (thus landing the writer/director squarely back in the realm of his feature debut, Thank You For Smoking).
Take a look:
Yeah, that's a touch topical these days, wouldn't you say? While his track record's been rocky lately, seeing Reitman guide Hugh Jackman through the seedy territory of backstage politics sounds like a real gift. The fact that he's bringing along Vera Farmiga, JK Simmons, Mike Judge, Alfred Molina and Bill Burr for the ride only sweetens this rather acidic-looking pot.
The Front Runner hits theaters (appropriately enough) on November 7th.