Politics makes strange bedfellows.
The political process can quickly change an idealist into a cynic. Loyalties are often tested. Behind-the-scenes deal making can have a major impact.
All of the above will happen in 2012. First, in the Ryan Gosling campaign for the Best Actor Oscar. Then, in the US presidential primaries.
“The Ides of March” stars Gosling as a bright, young campaign staffer who works to help George Clooney’s character win the Democratic nomination for President. The film, directed by Clooney and set in his hometown of Cincinnati, focuses on the Ohio primary (held in March).
Gosling will likely receive an Oscar nomination for this role. The cumulative effect of his recent work in “Drive,” “Crazy, Stupid Love” and “Blue Valentine” certifies him as Oscar-worthy. And “Ides” is the kind of movie that gets award nominations. (He had an Oscar nomination for the obscure “Half Nelson” in ’07.)
Clooney’s character is Governor of Pennsylvania who wants to be President. He is a glib, charismatic liberal, who comes off as a sincere and honest public servant. Meanwhile, Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Paul Giamatti, as competing campaign managers, get into the dirty work of politics.
A key player in the story is Evan Rachel Wood as a political intern who quickly beds Gosling. When her cell phone rings in the wee hours after a tryst, the plot thickens and Gosling takes several bold, decisive actions.
“The Ides of March” showcases great acting from the entire cast, especially Gosling. The major plot points of the story occur in quick order, but I will not complain about the movie being tightly written.
Is the story realistic? Ask somebody who has worked inside a campaign. As an observer who watches politics from the sideline, “The Ides of March” gets my vote.