The Front Runner (2018) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Front Runner (2018)

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Critic Consensus: The Front Runner exhumes the wreckage of a political campaign with well-acted wit, even if it neglects to truly analyze the issues it raises.

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Movie Info

Oscar (R) nominee Hugh Jackman stars as the charismatic politician Gary Hart for Academy Award (R)-nominated director Jason Reitman in the new thrilling drama The Front Runner. The film follows the rise and fall of Senator Hart, who captured the imagination of young voters and was considered the overwhelming front runner for the 1988 Democratic presidential nomination when his campaign was sidelined by the story of an extramarital relationship with Donna Rice. As tabloid journalism and political journalism merged for the first time, Senator Hart was forced to drop out of the race - events that left a profound and lasting impact on American politics and the world stage.

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Cast

Hugh Jackman
as Gary Hart
Vera Farmiga
as Lee Hart
Molly Ephraim
as Irene Kelly
Kaitlyn Dever
as Andrea Hart
Ari Graynor
as Ann Devroy
J.K. Simmons
as Bill Dixon
Mark O'Brien (IX)
as Billy Shore
Chris Coy
as Kevin Sweeney
Alex Karpovsky
as Mike Stratton
Josh Brener
as Doug Wilson
Tommy Dewey
as John Emerson
Oliver Cooper
as Joe Trippi
Jenna Kanell
as Ginny Terzano
RJ Brown
as Bill Martin
Alfred Molina
as Ben Bradlee
Mamoudou Athie
as Aj Parker
John Bedford Lloyd
as David Broder
Steve Coulter
as Bob Kaiser
Spencer Garrett
as Bob Woodward
Steve Zissis
as Tom Fielder
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Critic Reviews for The Front Runner

All Critics (160) | Top Critics (39)

As played by an aloof Hugh Jackman - the Australian actor affects an uneven accent - Hart is little more than a cipher.

November 22, 2018 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

There's an argument in the film about what is interesting and what is important, and how the two should be weighed. In that spirit, "The Front Runner" is interesting, but it's not weighty or assured enough to be important.

November 21, 2018 | Rating: C+ | Full Review…

Reitman is good at posing questions for which he doesn't have answers and, although that makes for compelling drama, the results feel incomplete and frustrating.

November 19, 2018 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

"The Front Runner" doesn't hit us over the head with parallels to today's political and media world. It doesn't have to.

November 16, 2018 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

People answer in punchlines here, and leave it to director Reitman to always lead with irony.

November 16, 2018 | Rating: 1/5 | Full Review…

The strength of "The Front Runner" is that it's an ensemble piece in which we get to know a lot of players in the press, the campaign, and elsewhere.

November 16, 2018 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The Front Runner

½

Hart should have known the Herald would sing. The Front Runner is about the birth of tabloid journalism infiltrating credible institutions, but what itï¿ 1/2(TM)s commenting on is how the media often allows a single moment of someoneï¿ 1/2(TM)s life to encapsulate and define that personï¿ 1/2(TM)s entire existence given the faceted perspective of how said incident is reported on. This is a fine truth to examine, especially through the lens of a 1987 scandal where the volume is comparably lower than the eleven todayï¿ 1/2(TM)s media cycle has been ratcheted up to, but the point director Jason Reitman (go watch TULLY now!) seeks to point out doesnï¿ 1/2(TM)t always jive with the story heï¿ 1/2(TM)s telling. The film makes it pretty clear Hugh Jackmanï¿ 1/2(TM)s (always reliable) Gary Hart was something of a womanizer on the reg and that the affair that outed him wasnï¿ 1/2(TM)t the only instance of this behavior. Reitman seeks to both make an example of Hart while also garnering empathy for the man, but the idea that the scrutiny or even the manner in which the scrutiny came down upon Hart was unwarranted begins to wain as the bigger picture around the Senator becomes clearer. What the movie gets right is highlighting the ramifications of Hartï¿ 1/2(TM)s actions on the women around him such as his wife, Lee (Vera Farmiga), his daughter Andrea (Kaitlyn Dever), as well as the woman involved in the affair, Donna (Sara Paxton)-whose line of dialogue, ï¿ 1/2I did all the things I was supposed to do so men wouldnï¿ 1/2(TM)t look at me the way you are right now.ï¿ 1/2Â?-perfectly encapsulates this theme. While the film has some quarrels about sorting out its question of where the line is between what is interesting and what is important, it must be noted that the roster of character actors in this thing is insane. J.K. Simmons, Josh Brener, Oliver Cooper, Alfred Molina, Mamoudou Athie, Ari Graynor (who I didnï¿ 1/2(TM)t even recognize at first), John Bedford Lloyd, Steve Coulter, Spencer Garrett, Steve Zissis, Bill Burr, Kevin Pollack, Mike Judge, Toby Huss, Courtney Ford, and Iï¿ 1/2(TM)m sure Iï¿ 1/2(TM)m missing others, but among all of these recognizable faces it is Tim Allenï¿ 1/2(TM)s other TV daughter featured here, Molly Ephraim (the other being Dever), who does much of the heavy lifting thematically and gives the film the edge it needs to be heard in todayï¿ 1/2(TM)s climate even if the voice behind it isnï¿ 1/2(TM)t as firm as it should be.

Philip Price
Philip Price

Super Reviewer

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