Movie Review: The Ides of March

Being as I am the only person on the face of the planet who both watches movies and indulges in intelligent criticism of them, it is only natural that I bear the burden of telling the entire world what they ought to think. Heavy is the (movie critic) crown (poorly constructed of free newspapers and a few stolen ones for pizzazz*). It is with this in mind that I went to go see yet another movie with Ryan Gosling in it. Except instead of being a stunt driver/getaway driver, this time he is some kind of political guy who actually does talk. And he has a name this time too. Steven I think.

Honestly his name is not important. What is important is that this is a great movie; I loved pretty much all of it. The actors were great, the pacing was wonderful, and I found the dialogue thoroughly witty throughout. The ending caught me by surprise, in that I was surprised that it was the ending, but after mulling it over for a few seconds I decided that was the best way to end it. The movie never gives you unnecessary details, and doesn’t drag along anything longer than it should be taken. The R rating for language is thoroughly correct.

Now to go on a sort of tangent.

Much like politics itself, it begins with a highly idealized vision of the movers and shakers therein. We see hopeful people of notable integrity who apparently want to make the world, or at least the United States, a better place for everyone. Apparently this movie is based on a play, and if you are like me and have never seen or heard of the play and therefore don’t have a clue what is going to happen, it is very easy to end up rooting for the characters. You want George Clooney to win the Primaries. You want Ryan Gosling to succeed at whatever his job is (honestly I’m sure it’s pretty clear what he does, but details like that just sort of escape me).

As the movie progresses, our lionized characters reveal themselves to be more flawed, and therefore human, than we initially saw, but its okay. We can forgive them. Some of us might think to ourselves “yeah we would totally do the same in that position and not think less of ourselves”. I personally wouldn’t, but I like standing on the moral high ground so I can spit on and throw rocks at those below me, as is right and proper.

This is, of course, a movie about political types, however, and therefore corruption of pretty much everyone is a guarantee. If there is a movie about political types who don’t do anything wrong, I have never heard of it. We as a people can only do two things with politicians; put them on pedestals or stomp them into the mud. We can never treat them as equals, only as heroes or detestable villains, usually depending on whether we got what we want from their policies. I haven’t been politically aware for very long, but from my experience everyone leaves office more reviled than they entered.

My point in all this political talk is that Ides of March is very much a microcosm , I feel, of the general public’s take on politics. When someone new comes along, we want to believe in them, and to a point we are willing to overlook any flaws they may have. But eventually we reach a point where they are suddenly terrible, and we feel betrayed, and we want them to get ejected from office so that some new shiny person can come along. I get the feeling that every politician of significant office has the goal of accomplishing as much as possible before they are too hated to accomplish anything. The only difference here is that we have an omniscient view, and that the entire course of events takes place in around an hour and a half, rather than a number of years.

Anyways, you should definitely see this movie. Unless you really hate Ryan Gosling, George Clooney, or bad words.

*Fun fact; this is how to spell the word, according to Google Chrome.

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2 Responses to Movie Review: The Ides of March

  1. RS says:

    I saw the movie last night, too! I liked the second half a lot better than the first, when the $— begins to hit the fan for Stephen and he begins to change. But I HATED the first half of the movie, and Molly’s whole flirtation/seduction, because I hate when the only women in these stories are young and slutty political interns. I know it sadly kind of reflects reality but I hate it.

    You have some really interesting political insights here! You’re right, we tend to regard politicians as either heros or villains, nothing in between. Not sure that has ever occurred to me before. And the whole cycle of “every political leader is eventually hated and people just want a shiny new person to come along” is apt and what I think is happening now.

    • AJBulldis says:

      I hadn’t noticed it at the time, but you’re totally right: Molly was the only woman in the entire movie. Morris’ wife doesn’t count, because her one scene could have been cut with no change to the movie.

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