In The Front Runner Hugh Jackman portraying the scandal ridden Presidential candidate Gary Hart passes two boats named Side Effect and Monkey Business. It’s an obvious statement of theme. The Front Runner shows the side effects of Gary Hart’s monkey business with Donna Rice.
Director Jason Reitman portrays Gary Hart as an old school pol use to getting what he wants, politically astute, sure of himself and the power of his grand wider world view ideas to sway the voting public, and like JFK before him, for them to forgive his moral indiscretions when it comes to his private life because it really is none of their business. He never realizes for the public that there is no separation between the public and private life for the man whose job it is to serve the best interest of the American people.
Hugh Jackman portrays Hart with a growing exasperation and wounded fury, a man totally blind to his moral failing and unwilling, unable to take the blame for them. The comparisons to the current Presidential occupant couldn’t be any clearer.
With Hart being an audience turn-off, it is left for the woman in the story, the side effects, to show the audience the corrosive results of Hart’s dickheadishness. Both the women who abandoned him (Donna Rice) and who ultimately supported him (Hart’s wife, Lee), played respectively by Sara Paxton and Vera Farmiga, are portrayed as intelligent, confident women, who have done all the right and expected things and are the most hurt and bewildered by Hart’s betrayal and blindness and society’s double standard when it comes to their personal pain. It is here where the tragedy of The Front Runner resides.
All photos courtesy of Sony Pictures Entertainment.