Movie Review: The Ides of March

A well-done movie about the American presidential campaign process and what it does to the players and the system.

Governor Mike Morris (George Clooney) is one of the two democratic presidential candidates. The stage is the Ohio primaries, and the outcome of that election, a few days hence, essentially decides which if the two candidates gets the Democratic nomination. Stephen Meyers (Ryann Gosling) is a 30-year-old press secretary to the governor, reporting directly to the campaign manager, Paul Zara (Philip Seymour Hoffman).

Stephen is an idealist, motivated by his own integrity and the beliefs of the candidate and the political issues he represents. Gov. Morris appears likewise, uncorrupted, idealistic, progressive and motivated. Paul Zara is a hard-driving and seasoned campaign manager. All is going well.

Then Stephen gets a call from the competition. He makes a minor mistake, one I would have not even realized as one: He agrees to meet with the campaign manager of the opponent. What starts out as benign curiosity quickly closes around him as a fatal trap.

Within a few day he realizes that unless he compromises his ideals, he is done, the campaign goes to pieces and his career in politics is over. This sets events in motion that press all participants into brutal decisions. The reality of a campaign is uncovered in front of our eyes.

Rating: ***

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