The Front Runner is definitely an interesting film. It asks many questions of the audience and leaves them to provide their own answers based on their beliefs. Like with most Jason Reitman films little judgement is passed on his characters but for the first time in his filmography these “characters” are real-life figures.
The Front Runner chronicles the downfall of the number one presidential candidate aiming to take out the 1988 US election. This candidate is played by the ever charming Hugh Jackman. Vera Farmiga gives a great performance, as Hart’s wife ‘Lee’, especially given the heavy emotional lifting she has to do with limited screen time.
I really liked that Reitman pulled back in the filmmaking process and let his cast carry the story. Not that Reitman’s a flashy director by any means but, in the best of ways, his presence was hardly felt. The story feels like it’s being told without bias and respects the audience enough to let them figure out some things for themselves.
This isn’t commonplace is movies these days and many recent political/journalism movies are a good vs bad affair (Spotlight, The Post, etc). This is just about an affair (sorry, history spoiler) with good or bad left up to the viewer.
I thoroughly enjoyed my experience seeing this film. It was a 38°C (100°F) day and the 2hrs of sitting in an air-conditioned theatre was a welcome respite from the arduous conditions outside. It should also be noted that I am yet to find a Jason Reitman film I haven’t liked. I have a soft spot for Labor Day and Men, Women & Children which I know many do not.
A continuation of Jason Reitman’s fine work:
Written by Benjamin Boekelaar