The fact alone that George Clooney and Ryan Gosling teamed up for a political drama was enough to get me very interested in seeing The Ides of March. Once the trailer landed, it furthered my belief that this movie was going to be good. But weeks before its release I started to get worried; many mixed reviews surfaced after its premieres in Venice, Toronto and L.A. I was a bit shocked because I had this one pegged as an Oscar contender. However, I still looked forward to seeing it and judging it on my own. And mixed reviews, be damned! The Ides of March was awesome.
The Ides of March follows an Ohio Primary Presidential campaign. Mike Morris (George Clooney), a democratic governor, is running against a republican senator. The race to win over Ohio is tight, but Morris seems to be in a slight lead. The story focuses on Morris’ campaign team, in particular Stephen Myers (Ryan Gosling), a very savvy political media consultant. He’s employed by the campaign manager, Paul (Philip Seymour Hoffman). At one of the debates, the opposing candidate’s campaign manager, Tom (Paul Giamatti), shows interest in hiring Stephen, but Paul and Stephen brush it off. A few days later, Tom calls Stephen and asks to meet with him. Stephen agrees to meet with him, which unintentionally causes a very dramatic turn of events.
The biggest complaint I have heard about The Ides of March is that the plot wasn’t good. I completely disagree. It was downright entertaining. The beginning started out a bit slow, and I was confused about the direction this story would take. But then shit hits the fan. Big time. And it just keeps on coming. After every twist and turn, I thought I knew where it was going next, but then the plot twisted again. Usually, I would find all of these small plot twists gratuitous, but I found that they worked seamlessly into the story.
The performances in this movie were dynamite. Ryan Gosling hits it out of the park. The last half of the movie is when he really shows it off, and by that very last scene, I was just like “Oh my God.” Last week, I saw that several people retweeted a certain tweet about Gosling. It said something like “Ryan Gosling has learned something that many other actors haven’t: how to be still.” That tweet right there hits the nail on the head, and I completely realized how true that was when I was hit with that final scene of Ides. Another great performance was given by Phillip Seymour Hoffman, probably the most honest character in this whole story. Clooney fairs well as the politician, but I wasn’t entirely convinced by him at some moments.
I think that much of the disappointment that revolves around The Ides of March stems from the fact that it didn’t teach us anything new. To be honest, I don’t think it was ever trying or wanting to do that. Don’t go in expecting something revelatory. This movie is pure entertainment, watching how characters react to the situations they are in. Despite what I previously thought, this movie isn’t all that Oscar worthy. If anything, the performances have a chance at Oscar nods. But really, does it matter? The Ides of March is an excellent movie that I very much enjoyed watching, and it’s definitely a film I recommend to everyone.
The Ides of March is now playing in theaters.