10 January 2019, The Tablet

When womanising could sink a bid for the US presidency

When womanising could sink a bid for the US presidency

The Front Runner
Director: Jason Reitman

Can a man who cheats on his wife be trusted with the governance of his country? In the United States such men have run for president and been elected, for better or worse. One who came a famous cropper was Gary Hart, a Colorado senator whose bid for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1988 crashed and burned after a newspaper revealed him to be having an extramarital affair. Why is this a story? Because back then this politician believed his private life was still, notionally, his own business. 

Jason Reitman’s entertaining drama revisits the scandal and marks it as a watershed in American political life. As Hart, Hugh Jackman overcomes the handicap of a terrible wig to present a ravishingly ambiguous character – a charismatic idealist who inspired great loyalty, and an arrogant, prickly customer when under pressure.

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