Complete A-Z list

Front Runner, The  (DVD)


Stars: Hugh Jackman, Vera Farmiga, J K Simmons, Alfred Molina, Sara Paxton, Ari Graynor, John Bedford Lloyd, Kaitlin Dever, Kevin Pollak, Molly Ephraim

Director: Jason Reitman

Having come second in the 1984 race to become Democratic presidential candidate, charismatic, laidback, intelligent senator Gary Hart (Jackman) is the front runner four years later.

Good-looking and a compelling speaker - 'I've never known anyone,' says one supporter 'so skilled at untangling the bullshit of politics' - Hart has one weakness: he is a compulsive womaniser, and the despair of his loyal wife Lee (Farmiga) who overlooks his frequent 'indiscretions'.

You would think such a man would be careful during the run-up to candidate selection - but no. Hart meets leggy blonde Donna Rice (Paxton) during ill-advised attendance at a boozy yacht party, and flies her to his Washington apartment - with the Press hot on his tail.

Hart's subsequent downfall, as he turns a blind eye at first to the possible consequences, provides the whole deal to this story, and director Reitman is hard-pushed to get enough drama into his 108-minute runtime.

All the performances are up to par in a slice of political history perhaps more suited to an hour-long documentary on TV.

David Quinlan

USA 2018. UK Distributor: Sony (Columbia). Colour by deluxe.
108 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 2.

Review date: 15 May 2019