This Week's Review: "The Front Runner"

For the first time in several weeks, I had time to see two new films, but that prize was too elusive for me on the weekend of November 17; I had to settle for one film, “The Front Runner.” I also had ambitions for the second of the “Fantastic Beasts” series, but that one will have to wait for the Thanksgiving break. To see both films, I would have had to wait almost two hours, and I had better things to do than clutter the lobby of the theater.

“The Front Runner” was worth the time and effort to see it; those whose memories stretch as far back as the 1980s may remember the meteoric rise and fall of Senator Gary Hart who had aspirations for the White House despite a tawdry private life. Hugh Jackman is excellent as the hubristic senator who dared the press to follow him around to see if he was guilty of infidelity or worse. Within days, his dirty laundry was on full view in the press. I remarked at the time that, “Too much of that spicy Rice dish has given his party a severe case of Hart-burn.” (Snide comments about politicians have always been one of my persistent activities.)

The film makes clear that the writers think Hart should have been president; the other candidates in 1984 and 1988 are barely mentioned and that does rob the film of its context. I enjoyed the film, but I came away with several unanswered questions about Hart. I could not help thinking of the candidates since 1988 who have been at least as guilty as Hart, if not more so, who have gained power.

In addition to the “Fantastic Beasts” film, I am giving serious thought to seeing “Green Book.”