Advertisement

Movie Mom

Movie Mom

The Contender

posted by rkumar
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
Profanity:Strong language
Nudity/Sex:Sexual references and situations, including multiple partners and adultery
Alcohol/Drugs:Drinking and smoking
Violence/Scariness:Characters in peril, accidental death
Diversity Issues:A theme of the movie
Movie Release Date:2000
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
Profanity: Strong language
Nudity/Sex: Sexual references and situations, including multiple partners and adultery
Alcohol/Drugs: Drinking and smoking
Violence/Scariness: Characters in peril, accidental death
Diversity Issues: A theme of the movie
Movie Release Date: 2000

The Contender” isn’t authentic. It isn’t even credible. It falls just short of preposterous. Now that we have that out of the way, let me say that it is thought-provoking and thoroughly enjoyable.

The Vice President has died and the President (Jeff Bridges) has to appoint a new one, someone who will underscore his legacy and secure swift confirmation from the Senate. He bypasses the popular Governor Hathaway (William Peterson) in favor of a Senator from Ohio named Laine Hansen (Joan Allen).

As the phone rings, the President on the other end waiting to invite her to the White House, Laine is having an enthusiastic sexual encounter. But it isn’t too spicy after all — it’s with her husband.

Laine, a Democrat, has a lot of support, even from her former-governor father, a Republican. But she has some powerful enemies, including the conservative Congressman Shelly Runyon (Gary Oldman), a Hathaway supporter, who has managed to make himself chairman of the confirmation committee. And when allegations that Laine had sexual relations with several boys at a college fraternity party surface, he leaks them to a Drudge-like website and asks her to respond. Laine refuses, saying that she will not discuss her private life and that there is a double standard because no man would have been asked to respond to such a question.

It is a lot of fun to watch the Washington wheels turn and the spinners spin. Writer-director Rod Lurie (“Deterrence”) has been around Washington enough to get the characters and the vocabulary right. Echoes of the Clarence Thomas and Clinton impeachment hearings give the story some sizzle. Director and stars give the story their best shot, and it moves along briskly. Allen and Bridges give Oscar-quality performances, and supporting players like Sam Elliott, Christian Slater and newcomer Kathryn Morris add depth and sparkle. Oldman, who also co-produced, is almost unrecognizable under a Pappy-Yokum-style hairpiece. He manages the right mix of menace and fervor. If the final turns are a bit Capra-esque, it is still hard to fault the movie for wanting Laine to end up happily, because by then we do, too.

Parents should know that the movie has frank discussions about the allegations against Laine, flashbacks to the fraternity party, and a clothed but explicit sex scene. People use strong language.

Families who see this movie should talk about how much it is fair to expect politicians to reveal to us and how much it is fair to expect from them. They may also want to talk about the challenge presented to Laine back in college and how she responded and whether she is right in saying that a double standard was applied. Families should talk about Laine’s comment that principles are most important when things get tough.

Families who enjoy this movie will also enjoy the two all-time best movies about politics, “The Best Man” and “Advise and Consent,” both starring Henry Fonda. They may also like the more recent “The Seduction of Joe Tynan.

Previous Posts

Deadpool
Frankly, exuberantly nasty -- in the nicest possible way, Deadpool is not your father's superhero. That is, unless your father is more like ...

posted 3:58:24pm Feb. 08, 2016 | read full post »

Interview: Marilyn Meberg from "Women of Faith"
Marilyn Meberg knows how to make everyone feel like an old friend. Counselor, author, and part of the Women of Faith tour of inspirational ...

posted 3:55:38pm Feb. 08, 2016 | read full post »

Beliefnet's Movie Love Quotes Quiz
Check out this great quiz about great movie love quotes! If you beat my score (18), let me know! ...

posted 8:00:59am Feb. 08, 2016 | read full post »

Trailer: Screenagers, a Documentary About 21st Century Kids and Their Devices
[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LQx2X0BXgZg[/youtube] Every parent should see "Screenagers," which explores the unprecedented challenges families face over social media, video games, academics and internet addiction. Insights from ...

posted 8:00:20am Feb. 08, 2016 | read full post »

The People and Movies That Inspired "Hail, Caesar!"
The Coen brothers love old movies, and we see evidence of that in many of their films, including "Barton Fink," about a hapless playwright who come to Hollywood to write movies in the 1940's, and with their remakes of the heist films "The ...

posted 3:57:20pm Feb. 07, 2016 | read full post »

Advertisement


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.