The Front Runner (2018) Review


When Gary Hart looks set to become the next President with a truly outstanding campaign that is all about to come crashing down when an affair scandal breaks in the news.


US politics are always quite a popular thing to then transfer to the screen for a film. Being British I often don’t know the backstory of the characters and therefore have no prior knowledge on the subject matter, that is especially true for The Front Runner.

I guess with the subject matter of senator Gary Hart and having affairs and being caught out by the press was probably groundbreaking at the time. He was hotly tipped to become the next president and everything about his campaign and his looks were something that was played upon. He was supposed to be the man who could stop George W. Bush’s campaign and don’t we all pretty much anything could have stopped that! 

The main one that was part of this story you could not help but feel sorry for the young woman Donna Rice who got caught up in it all. A couple of her scenes were tough to watch as she was easily broken by the affair coming out. She would always be tainted with that and I thought that was quite sad, yes he stopped running for President mainly for the sake of his family. He didn’t really sure any remorse in his actions and I can understand why this film has not had the greatest reception. 

Having now read some trivia around the allegations, both Hart and Rice still deny that they had an affair. The film didn’t place in the photo which was actually published at the time and kind of took things in its own direction. Which I guess is a little strange really as surely they could have used that for a closer to reality story? Seems a little bit strange that they would then try to change it all around. Having said that Gary Hart was involved in the making of the film with Jackman staying at his house, so I guess they went for the lighter option and trying not to cause offence?

Hugh Jackman is still very good in what is a very different type of role for him. He captures the likeable yet sleazy politician very well which I don’t know if that is a good thing or not! A pretty decent support cast and an underused Vera Farmiga, although I often feel that way about her. The rest of the supporting cast are average within the film, which I think takes an overall average rating from myself. It’s not bad, it’s just nothing special either.

Comparing this to other films about US politics it doesn’t really offer that much to be brutally honest. Which is a shame as I do love a good newspaper reporter drama, a dying breed of film considering digital media is more popular now. I guess the scandal just wasn’t on the same level as Watergate or the Catholic Church (All the Presidents Men and Spotlight).

5 thoughts on “The Front Runner (2018) Review

  1. This film was well done but as your review points out, “of its time” to a large degree – they failed to bring any current relevance to the storytelling…while his affair at the time derailed his presidential ambitions, we know today that such “crimes” are not only tolerated, but accepted in the US…and they didn’t try to make this film seem “topical” at all…if you want to see a great film that did just that, watch “Primary Colors” with John Travolta and Emma Thompson telling the Clinton story!

    Liked by 1 person

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