“The Ides of March”: Beware?

Ryan Gosling (left side) tries to help George Clooney become the next U.S. president.

Et tu, my second husband? Must even you, George Clooney, succumb to the foul-mouthed language that is populating PG-13 and R-rated movies these days? I’m disappointed. As usual, the f-bomb isn’t necessary in your newest movie, “The Ides of March.”

Sorry to air our “marital” laundry in the blog! Time to move on and actually talk about the film, which the Mister and I saw yesterday.

Mike Morris needs to win the Ohio primary.

Clooney co-wrote and directed “Ides.” Even though he also acts in it, playing Governor Mike Morris, who is running for president—of course, as a Democrat, he’s definitely not the star. Instead, Ryan Gosling is front and center as Morris’ brilliant, young media consultant, Steve Myers. Myers believes in Morris, who is trying to win the Ohio primary in mid-March with speeches about honesty and integrity.

Steve’s idealism becomes challenged.

Those of us who have read “Julius Caesar” both when we were in high school and again last year when our sophomores took on Shakespeare’s classic remember that “beware the Ides of March” was a soothsayer’s warning to the Roman statesman. Betrayal was the name of the game for the general, and it plays a big part in the movie . . . along with loyalty, morality, and doing the right thing for the right reasons.

Myers works for Paul Zara (Philip Seymour Hoffman).

“The Ides of March” features a wonderful cast, starting, of course, with Georgie and Gosling. Philip Seymour Hoffman (forever known to me as the fat Art Howe) is Morris’ somewhat-jaded campaign manager, while Marisa Tomei plays a reporter who could make or break Steve.

Paul Giamatti in bluer days.

Meanwhile, Paul Giamatti, as usual, does an excellent turn as rival campaign manager Tom Duffy. Is it just me or does everyone else think of Giamatti as a blue meanie in “Big, Fat Liar” (a favorite film of my younger son) when he’s onscreen?

I mostly liked “Ides,” but it did leave me underwhelmed. I especially didn’t buy into the lame romance between Myers and a young intern, Molly (Evan Rachel Wood), which was important to the plot in several ways. And the flick covers no new ground: Politics are dirty? Power plays help win elections? Sex and politics can be a combustible combination? Really? Yawn!

I’d give it two and a half stars (out of five).

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4 responses to ““The Ides of March”: Beware?

  1. This is entertaining even if suspense barely builds and pay-off revelations come with little surprise. Clooney, as a director, is also able to draw-out amazing performances from this whole ensemble cast. Great review. Check out mine when you get the chance.

  2. > Is it just me or does everyone else think of Giamatti as a blue meanie in “Big, Fat Liar” (a favorite film of my younger son) when he’s onscreen?

    Nope… I think Giamatti’s quintessential role is in “Sideways”.

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