"The Ides of March" is not about the assassination of the Emperor on the Senate floor. However, the title serves as a metaphor. George Clooney's "The Ides of March" sublimely mourns the murder of idealism in one of the best movies of the year. New York Times Reporter Ida played by Marisa Tomei requests a favor for a press comment, reminding Ryan Gosling's Stephen Meyer that they are friends. Standing tall with a soulless stare of absolution Stephen says, "You are my best friend." Earlier in the Gulfstream ride, vibrant idealistic campaign press <more>
strategist Stephen tells his man, Governor Mike Morris George Clooney , " I have to believe in the cause." Gosling is powerful as Stephen, a good man trapped in betrayal choosing the lesser of evils, selling his soul with both eyes open. Director and Writer George Clooney's vision is fluid and captivating in his modern day tragic fable. Clooney is deceptively brilliant in his portrayal of Morris, the poised charismatic man of integrity. He boldly shades an unexpected darkness, in this tale of deceit and human frailty.Clooney along with Grant Heslov "Good Night, and Good Luck" , and Beau Willimon wrote the screenplay for "The Ides of March" based on Willimon's play, "Farragut North". The story follows the Democratic Presidential Campaign of Governor Mike Morris Clooney converging upon the critical tipping point of the Ohio Primaries. His opponent Senator Pullman intentionally nondescript Michael Mantell is pretty much a vanilla flavor candidate, but close in the polls. Both are vying for the endorsement of Senator Thompson brazen Jeffrey Wright , who holds 350 delegates—effectively anointing the nomination. Stephen and Campaign Manager Paul great Philip Seymour Hoffman discover that the Senator's endorsement comes at a price: Secretary of State. However, Morris knows Thompson is a dirt bag, refuses to play ball, essentially committing political suicide.Stephen Gosling takes an ominous phone call from Tom Duffy earnestly manipulative Paul Giamatti , who is Pullman's Campaign Manager. He discloses a pivotal game changer, and asks Stephen to abandon Paul and Morris and work for him. Stephen declines, staying his course. Unfortunately, things get convoluted as information of their informal meeting is somehow leaked.Meanwhile, engaging in a diversion from the all consuming campaign 30 year-old Stephen has a tryst with brilliant and seductive 20 year-old campaign aide Molly strong and sexy Evan Rachel Wood , whose Dad Jack Stearns solid Gregory Itzin happens to be Democratic Party Chairman. Seemingly free-spirited Molly hides a tragic secret. Here Director Clooney seamlessly and effortlessly blends the unsavory and unforgiving narratives. He always displays such confidence in his actors, as if we are ease dropping on their conversations.All is not even what it had seemed to be. Gosling's Stephen is left drowning in a Machiavellian quagmire of avarice and deceit. Evan Rachel Wood is tragic and vulnerable as the collateral victim of the cause. Philip Seymour Hoffman is amazing as Paul, the man who values loyalty above all. Hoffman compels as a man who can't out smart his tragic flaws. Clooney is awesome. His surprising dark turn is powerful, although it seems a bit out of context aside from the dramatic arc. Ryan Gosling is mesmerizing. Ultimately, "The Ides of March" soars because he solemnly captures the fall from idealism and grace. He embodies great humanity as a man transforms into what he most despises. "The Ides of March" has deep sadness in the loss of idealism, and poetically asks: At what cost do the ends ever justify the means? "The Ides of March" is provocative and one of the year's best.
A couple cautions for the uninitiated (by charlytully)
I very seldom write about the movies I rank at 9 or 10 of 10 , because by the time I see them on IMDb everyone and their brother already has written them up. I will make an exception in the case of THE IDES OF MARCH for a couple reasons. Firstly, some of my family members assumed this would be a modern-day updating of the the Shakespeare play JULIUS CAESAR famous line: "Beware the ides of March! , following the likes of the wonderful RICHARD III with Ian McKellan in the title role or the mind-blowing TITUS with Anthony Hopkins as the ill-fated Roman general . Alas for them, while <more>
THE IDES OF MARCH may have some parallels to Caesar's story, there is no iambic pentameter or any other meter in this George Clooney vehicle. Secondly, for what it lacks in "Et tu, Brutus?" literal lines, IDES more than makes up for with its main story line, which could be subtitled THE EDUCATION OF STEPHEN MEYERS Ryan Gosling's character . Just as any true Christian fundamentalist is likely to believe ALL American million- and billionaires are facing a future of eternal torment no way to get around that pesky "camel-through-the-eye-of-a-needle" thing , THE IDES OF MARCH simply constitutes another cinematic proof that one cannot climb much above the level of a road commissioner in American politics without rubbing shoulders with Satan.
A Nutshell Review: The Ides of March (by DICK STEEL)
George Clooney for President? If his persona as Governor Mike Morris in the first half The Ides of March is anything to go by - an excellent orator blessed with natural charisma and a dedicated and talented campaign team, it's no surprise to find people throwing their weight behind him. But this is not the one man one vote system we have here, but the US democracy system involving electoral divisions, which may baffle some of us not familiar with it, but even if so, this film will not alienate you, but draw you into its proceedings about how the greed of man influences one's desperate <more>
cling for self-preservation, and pride.It's pacey and punchy, and is what everything about what a political thriller does best, in making it easy to identify with its broad themes for the man on the street involving morals, principles, integrity, trust and power, having likely tradeoffs between characters all trying to gain the upper hand, because the pot of gold at the end of this dark tunneling journey is the Oval Office of the White House, where the person you back, if you're right, takes on the hot seat as Commander in Chief, your job is more or less secured for at least four years, with an option for another four.It's very pronounced in today's context with the American elections due another 48 months, and this serves as a sneak peek set in the context of a crucial party nomination run off centered about the decider in the state of Ohio, where Senator Thompson Jeffrey Wright is being wooed by opposing nominees Morris Clooney and Senator Pullman Michael Mantell for the Democratic nomination. Running their respective campaigns are seasoned veterans Paul Zara Philip Seymour Hoffman and Tom Duffy Paul Giamatti in opposing camps, with Ryan Gosling as Stephen Meyers, a young, promising media savvy hotshot supporting Morris because of belief in the message and values the latter demonstrates, and is seen as a tremendous asset by both sides of the camp.So begins the cajoling for news, quotes, insights from opponents each trying to feel and strategize against the other, and from not-so-innocent bystanders like the press Marisa Tomei eager for scoops as the campaign heats up, feeding on information and leaks with threats that can make or break anyone in print. Information is currency, and knowledge is power in this game, and we're thrown into the thick of the action from the onset, primarily charting how events unfold and Meyers' wheeling and dealings, cajoling, half-deals under the table and behind the scenes, all starting from a single phone call for a meeting from Duffy to call upon Meyers which translates to a flatter, that catalyzes into a measured, political chess game.It's about Meyers' pride that will lead to a seduction, turning one against his own beliefs and value system, allowing us to witness how easy it is for anyone to blackmail or be blackmailed, about who's playing who, and how everything isn't as simple as it seems in the race for power. The last film I've seen that involves political campaigning was in Definitely, Maybe, a romantic comedy, but The Ides of March is more State of Play in its intensity and gripping narrative, based upon the play Farragut North by Beau Willimon, that made this film truly stand out under Clooney's astute direction. If you're dreading a film with plenty of dialogue, trust me in this film the lines are like honey as you marvel at brilliant conversations laced with plenty of in-betweens.I am not that big a fan of Ryan Gosling, but his powerhouse performance here has changed my mind. While Clooney may be the biggest name on the marquee, this is clearly a Gosling vintage performance as the ambitious young man who thinks the world of himself, until as the Chinese saying goes, the old ginger is always hotter, meaning his lack of experience and savviness in some areas exposes his shortcomings, but as already recognized by his more veteran peers, his character of Meyers possesses the undercurrents and potential of becoming a major player and game changer, it's only a matter of time before he wises up. Gosling portrays this transformation with tremendous intensity, swinging from one end of the inexperienced campaigner who got blindsided, sacrificed, and caught offguard, to making the best of the situation with cold, calculated moves of his own. This is the movie, and Gosling made it his own.But that's not to discount what his co-stars have brought to the table. Flanked by powerhouses in Philip Seymour Hoffman as his mentor of sorts in a relationship that bears all the hallmarks of Star Wars' Obi-wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker somehow , and Paul Giamatti as the equivalent on the opposite camp, Marisa Tomei also held her own in her bit role as the New York Times reporter more like a double agent, making deals with either side to further her career, and Evan Rachel Wood balances the testosterone levels to star as, well, yet another seductive temptress, a young intern working at Morris' camp who holds a very crucial secret that can make and break the nominees.With beautiful cinematography and an excellent soundtrack by Alexandre Desplat, I enjoy it best when Clooney goes behind the camera for politically charged dramas, and besides the blip in Leatherheads, perhaps this genre is indeed his forte as he charms his way on screen, while creating something sleek and sexy behind the scenes. Definitely a must-watch political thriller, and one of the top, top films of the year!
No heroes, no villains, just real human beings - and what could be scarier? (by jburtroald95)
Corruption is such a nasty word. It is universally steeped in negative connotation, and is a term applied theoretically to a selfish, unjust misuse of power. Yet, realistically, this evil becomes hard to determine, and many attempts at justification can be made using alternate terms, such as "motivated" or "single-minded". Many of the best social dramas have explored this ambiguous area: in House of Sand and Fog 2003 an unfairly biased policeman was put to work, for once, for the supposed sympathetic protagonist, but we still didn't find it excusable; more recently, <more>
in the fiercely intense Contagion, the top doctor leaked confidential information in order to place his wife's chances of survival above the others – in this case, we can understand his position, but the injustice at hand here is still undeniable.It is very unfortunate in society that the places where corruption is most prevalent are those in which justice and citizenship is supposed to be the absolute goal. Contagion and other similar films expose this in the medical industry, films like L.A Confidential 1997 in the police force, and now George Clooney, as both writer and director, has brought us another razor-sharp political drama that reveals how cutthroat and sinister working in the government can be, even if creating a "free world" is purportedly the overall goal.Ryan Gosling portrays another robust yet ultimately inadequate young businessman attempting to excel in a challenging line of work. In Fracture 2007 it was the legal system, where, again, his character, Willy Beachum, faced this same temptation when his partners urged him to falsify evidence in order to put away a fiend that they knew to be guilty, yet could find no proof against. Willy resisted admirably, but Stephen Meyers, his more competent yet far less righteous character in The Ides of March, has rather weak moral resolve. He is the talented and favoured staffer of presidential candidate Governor Mike Morris Clooney , a man whose political philosophies he genuinely supports, and is very anxious to see become president. However, Morris is a man who sticks firmly to his principles and is unwilling to make a strategic compromise. It is an insistence that frustrates Stephen, and indeed his entire team as they see guaranteed victory is within their grasp if he only concedes to endorse the slightly disagreeable Senator Thompson although neither Jeffrey Wright nor Clooney exactly make it clear what it is that Morris dislikes about him . It is a case of breaking a few eggs to make a good cake, and as Morris continues refusing to do so, pressures mount, the opposition begins to gain the upper hand, and a highly riveting series of complications arises.Audiences will be happy to hear that they will not have to sit through a ridiculous amount of dry, technical passages of dialogue, sift through needlessly enigmatic storytelling methods and poke and prod their way through murky themes in order to find value in the film. The broader ideas are not all it has to offer, but lie over the top of the solid story foundations to be properly examined upon the reflection that takes place after viewing, as they should. This piece also works as a slickly entertaining, enthralling crime thriller. For while the intricate world of politics can arguably be likened to a game of chess, as it is in the film, the pieces are not stone figures, they are real people whose entire lives become ruined when they are captured by the opposing side/ Seeing as beyond the point of the Senator Thompson dilemma, the plot involves a string of juicy surprises, I shouldn't really reveal much more. All I will say is that Paul Giamati, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Evan Rachel Wood and Marisa Tomei all give exceptional performances as the key figures involved, and that each of their characters, and at one stage or another, harbours a deadly secret.Clooney's direction is remarkably apt, particularly in a wordless scene in which Hoffman's character is given aggravating news from Morris inside his car, and we become cheeky onlookers from the outside, not even seeing their faces. He has also done well adapting beau Willimon's play Farrugat North with the help of Oscar-nominated screenplay writer Grant Henslov Good Night, and Good Luck and the playwright himself. His performance as Morris is fine work also, but, for the common audience at least, the film really belongs to Gosling, who proves once again that he is more than just an exceptionally handsome teen idol, but the most convincing and versatile young actor since Johnny Depp, with Max Minghella The Social Network and Jennifer Ehle topping things off beautifully as part of the supporting cast.
George Clooney directs a fascinating political thriller; Do the right thing or get your candidate elected? (by chaz-28)
Physically compare experienced political operatives with their interns. More than wrinkled faces and less hair up top separates them. The interns still have fresh ideals and expectations of the candidates they choose to support; the experienced staffers know better. There was a point on a campaign in their past where their own ideals took a left turn; a point where reality jumped up and showed them no candidate is perfect and a time when it became less about the future of tomorrow and more about just beating the other guy.Stephen Myers Ryan Gosling is at the intersection. He is the number <more>
two on Governor Mike Morris's George Clooney presidential campaign. He not only shares the Governor's political platform, but believes in the man himself. It is not the hero worship of the interns he supervises, but it is not the same almost numb feeling the number one campaign managers sometimes show. Stephen's boss and the Governor's main guy is Paul Zara Philip Seymour Hoffman . He is on board because he shares in the political faith, but he knows more and it shows. His shoulders are hunched, he smokes too much, and he believes in loyalty to the candidate even more than he believes in his own mother.The Governor is towards the end of a tight Democratic primary and there is only one more candidate between him and the general election, one which will most likely favor the Democrat in the race. The campaign has stopped for the week in Ohio which is fast becoming a make or break primary state. Stephen and Paul are expertly drafting speeches, maneuvering the candidate where he needs to be, and cozying up to the New York Times political reporter Ida Horowicz Marisa Tomei for some favorable coverage. The other candidate is also in town though and he has his own political attack dog in Tom Duffy Paul Giamatti . Tom knows the real deal just as much as Paul and sees in Stephen what they all used to be, smart and talented, yet still a bit wide-eyed.Speeches are made, debates are contested, and each side is courting various political kingmakers. Every time it comes down to Stephen to make a decision, it becomes more and more a matter of what is right or what will get my candidate elected. What if you do the right thing but it causes your candidate to fall in the polls? What if you compromise your values and it gives your team the boost it needs to clear that last hurdle? Stephen has some tough choices to make and what The Ides of March really comes down to is will Stephen the individual still be the same somewhat fresh idealist he was at the beginning of the week? The Ides of March has a serious and tight screenplay and it matched those characters from the page with tried and true heavy hitters. Ryan Gosling is fast becoming one of Hollywood's premier true actors but even he loses the screen to the fascinating performances of Hoffman, Giamatti, and Tomei. These guys must tire of waiting around for that perfect script to come along because when it does, they are usually first in line to give it what they've got, and in The Ides of March, these three knock it out of the park. Gosling and Clooney are no slouches and must carry a lot of the film, but their roles are not as juicy as the supporting cast. Evan Rachel Wood also shines as a campaign intern.The Ides of March opened this year's Venice Film Festival and won its Brian Prize, the first American film to do so. The Brian Prize champions the values of rationality, human rights, expression, etc and it must have been an easy choice. Scripts like this one do not come around once a week. True actors such as Hoffman, Giamatti, and Tomei rarely latch on to roles in the same film where they each have in-depth, staggering monologues. When one of them gets going, they could go on the same spiel for minutes on end with hardly an interruption. The choices people make really can change them as an individual. Do you choose the right thing every time or is the end all that matters no matter what the means?
I had expected The Ides of march to be a solid slow-burner. I was surprised by it's storyline. The film really does take a dig at how brutal and dirty politics can be. It starts off slow, but it has various twists throughout. On paper, it sorta looks all a bit too silly or obvious. It is sort of a melodrama, but it's directed with a brilliant flare by Clooney. The actual storyline is pretty simple even with it's twists, but the film has a lot of great individual scenes. Still, it's a great film, only a great film, but nothing incredible. Clooney's direction is as smooth as <more>
you would expect from him, so this is in a way a directorial trick, but the screenplay is very, very well written, even if the storyline sounds hokey, the script smooths it out. Overall, better than I expected, and one of the few 2011 films where our opinion of the lead changes completely from beginning to end.
Solid, realistic political melodrama - not a thriller (by dfranzen70)
The Ides of March isn't a story just about the back-alley dealings of those seeking to gain power; it's a morality tale of how much one must wrestle between doing things because he feels they are the right thing to do and doing things that will serve themselves better in the long run. It is a political melodrama, but it just as easily have been written about business and high finance. It's highly cynical, with its points driven home by a terrific cast, and yet it manages not to be heavy handed or preachy. Indeed, there aren't really any strictly good or bad guys in this <more>
movie.Ryan Gosling stars as Steven Myers, a top aide to Governor Mike Morris George Clooney , who is running for president; currently at stake is the battleground state of Ohio. If Morris can gain Ohio's delegates, he's pretty much assured to get the Democratic nomination, and in the film it's noted that the Republicans have a weak field themselves at best . All of this means, of course, that as Ohio goes, so goes the presidency, so there's plenty riding on this one primary.Morris' campaign manager is Paul Zara, played by Philip Seymour Hoffman, a veteran of many cutthroat campaigns. And although Zara has the experience, Morris often turns to his young ish aide Steven to gain a less-jaded, more-truthful perspective. Of course, by doing so, Morris is simply trying to hear from someone who may not be thinking four years or fewer down the road at his next job. Like most staffers, Steven believes in Morris; he thinks that if the man is elected president, good things will happen. He is the prototypical idealistic aide; doing the right thing will win out over all, he believes. He's not completely naive to backdoor politics, but his organization, his analysis, his acumen, and his spirit are what endear Morris to him.Even though Steven is not a Mr. Perfect, a self-righteous do-gooder, he's savvy; he knows which buttons to push. He learns, though, that his chief obstacle to success is in recognizing whom is trustworthy, and just because one is friends with another doesn't mean that either owes the other much when it comes to the game of politics. For example, simply feeding the press in the person of Marisa Tomei the occasional tidbit doesn't mean that the media will be an extended PR arm for Morris.Somewhere along the line, Steven reaches a breaking point, a place at which loyalty isn't the most important thing on his plate. This point comes as a result of two pretty bad decisions, one that he knows is a bad idea right away and another that seems a little more innocent – but then Steven has underestimated how petty, parochial, and vindictive those in the business can be. It's all about one's level of paranoia. You have to have some in order to foresee problems, but too much of it will hollow out your soul in a jiffy.Clooney, who also directed, looks and sounds presidential, but he's not the focus of the movie; as with his brilliant Good Night, and Good Luck, he's a powerful supporting character. Things don't revolve around Mike Morris as they do around Steven Myers, and that's one reason the movie works – our focus is on the morality battle, and it's presumed that as a sitting governor, that battle's long been over for Morris.The hand-picked cast is superb. Not only do we get Clooney, Hoffman, Tomei, and Gosling, we also get Paul Giamatti as the governor's opponent's campaign manager. Each one seems to steal scenes, even ones they share. Even Evan Rachel Wood, as a new intern in Morris' camp, turns in a splendid performance.It's clear that The Ides of March won't be for everyone. It is, as I said, cynical – highly so. It won't leave you hopeful about, well, anything. It gives you no one for whom to really cheer and yet no one for whom to really despise. It offers realism in lieu of hope, and its goal of trying to explain the motivations of those who get involved in these campaigns is reached. It's an effective, gripping melodrama.
The games people play to get ahead, not necessarily in politics, but within themselves (by napierslogs)
George Clooney is running for President. Well, I mean, in "The Ides of March," as Governor Mike Morris, he's running for the Democratic Presidential nomination. He's the good guy and his opponent is the bad guy. Because that's how it is supposed to be, right? The opponent's campaign manager is played by the ever-shady Paul Giamatti, while Morris' campaign is championed by the young, handsome idealistic Stephen Ryan Gosling .This is about politics, the games people play to get ahead, and the types of people who get played—that's the interesting part. The <more>
refreshing part, is that this isn't about election night and who is going to win and who is going to lose. A few poll numbers are rattled off, but it's mostly about what is going to happen to our heroes or anti-heroes and what are they going to do in response. When you look like Clooney and Gosling, it's hard not to be the hero, but remember, this is politics and nobody is really a hero in that mess.People make mistakes. I enjoyed following Stephen as he struggled internally with his path forward. He believes in the good of the Governor. He's smart and passionate and makes a good campaign manager. His mistakes seem minor and understandable. The problem is, he's 30. He's at the in-between age, where he's half young-college-student-ready-to-take-over-the-world and half experienced-cynic. Those are two very combative halves and when they come at odds within him, the character takes some shocking and drastic turns.The few references to actual political gaffes are obvious and just done for comic relief. All the clever lines are stolen by Giamatti, who, I am predicting, will come away with the only acting nomination for the film. Although, the brilliant character work – that's done by everybody, and is what makes "The Ides of March" so intriguing.
The Underbelly of Politics, Driven by a Stellar Cast (by Unbilled_Role)
For a good, well-rounded synopsis of this film, please read Dan Franzen's astute review, written on October 8, 2011. My review focuses on character development, script, and metaphor.Sizzling with a dark undertone, "The Ides of March" delivers on it's campaign promise. It's politics as usual in this story, and the film is driven by a stellar cast, with George Clooney at the directorial helm. For me, this film is a standout among the 2011 fare. It's fortunate that Clooney is wise enough to cast himself as the co-starring role of Governor Morris, a man who is trying his <more>
fate at winning the Presidency, one state at a time. Although he does not get a lot of screen time, Clooney's character retains a burnished charisma, which is filtered by quiet ambiguity. As other reviewers have mentioned, this is a morality tale. There are numerous cogs in the wheel, which include Governor Morris, his opponent, and their support teams. But one thing is clear: they are all in service to Politics. It's a game that they thrive on, and sometimes despise.I would suggest that the main character of this film might very well be the Puppetry of Politics.Yes, Politics, with a capital P.As it brandishes it's bravado, and thinly disguises it's blood-thirsty intentions beneath a veil of nobility, the puppet strings of Politics are taunt. So entrenched are these strings, that a politician's reputation can be snuffed out, and in quick order. Politicians may hate the theatrics of the puppet show, but they still pay their allegiance to the Puppet Master. They are required to do a little jig to the corporate-sponsored tune, but politicians are not the Maestro of the Puppet Show. And they never will be.Actress Jennifer Ehle deliciously plays her limited role as the governor's wife, so that we are hungry for more. But, this might be an intentional choice by Clooney and his fellow scriptwriters. As is echoed in real life, the politician's wife-in-waiting is often relegated as a mere background player. In Ehle's one key scene, she is filmed in a tight closeup with Clooney, as they traverse the campaign trail. Her face is a moon-lit, and is framed by her husband's granite-like, shadowy persona. For me, this visual offers a nod to Mount Rushmore. Both Clooney and his cinematographer, Phedon Papamichael, must be be praised for this. Furthermore, the script for this scene is particularly well written, as what the Governor and his wife infer is more telling than what they say aloud.Ryan Gosling and Phillip Seymour Hoffman adroitly shine in their roles, as political power players in their own right, who help carve up a slice of the Political Pot Pie for their boss, the Governor, while also looking to advance their own careers. Some of the reviewers here have characterized the role of Gosling as idealistic at the start, but I see his character as more complex, as witnessed in the ironic opening moments. Gosling's character of Stephen has a stoic, graceful focus which is tempered by a street smart stance. All of this is a nice contrast to his boyish handsomeness. Hoffman plays his role of Paul with a nice mix of explosive staccato, peppered with a quiet stealth. Another fine turn for this gifted actor.Paul Giamatti also delivers as the political henchman for the opponent's team. I always like Giamatti, and I wanted to see more of him. I have some squabbles with the script quality in one juicy scene between Giamatti's character and Gosling. Giamatti's lines play out in a silly fashion. Subsequently, one of the final scenes between the two men loses it's momentum.Evan Rachel Wood is finely cast as a young temptress who serves as an intern to the Governor, and who happens to be the daughter of the head of the DNC. She offered some nice nuances to her role. Jeffrey Wright, who offers wonderful interpretations to his various roles, plays a Senator who offers favors, but is a shrewd player. In one scene, he comes off like a frenzied clown, whose job it is to hype up the audience, in support of the Governor. On the surface, Wright's delivery seems exaggerated, but we must remember that this sort of evangelical zest delivers ample votes to certain politicians.Overall, this was a quietly satisfying film, with a handful of script foibles. It would have been even more compelling if at least 3 of the roles were more fleshed out. "The Ides of March" reveals the narrowed odds a politician has for maneuvering the Puppet Show. Although this them will not come as a surprise to most modern day viewers, this tale still stands as a confirmation of sorts.