The Contender (2000)
October 31, 2020 2:39 PM - Subscribe

Senator Laine Hanson (Joan Allen) is tapped by the President (Jeff Bridges) to be the first woman as Vice President. But first she must run the gauntlet of her confirmation hearing, led by Republican Congressman Sheldon Runyon (Gary Oldman). Will the GOP sabotage her career with scandal and innuendo?

The Contender was released 20 years ago. The political drama was written and directed by Rod Lurie. Christian Slater, Sam Elliott (without his moustache!), William Petersen, Philip Baker Hall, and Saul Rubinek round out the cast.

Roger Ebert praised the movie with four stars:
Joan Allen is at the center of "The Contender," in one of the strongest performances of the year. Some actresses would have played the role as too sensual, others as too cold; she is able to suggest a woman with a healthy physical life who nevertheless has ethical standards that will not bend. She would rather lose the vice presidency than satisfy Runyon's smutty curiosity
Peter Travers wasn’t as pleased:
Lurie borrows from political films as diverse as All the President’s Men, The Candidate, Advise & Consent and Gore Vidal’s The Best Man — now being revived on Broadway with its wit and sting intact — but he forgets that the drama is in the backroom finagling, not in the noble posturing that mars even Frank Capra’s Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. Aiming for heroic action, Lurie ends up spewing out the worst thing for politics and movies: hot air
posted by Monochrome (4 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Unfortunately this movie is not on any American streaming services right now.
posted by Monochrome at 2:40 PM on October 31, 2020

Spoiler: the movie has a happy ending, which a lot of reviewers hate. But after the 2000 and 2016 elections, with 2020’s election so soon, that’s just what I need.
posted by Monochrome at 2:43 PM on October 31, 2020 [1 favorite]

I remember finding the twist near the end, when you learn just how high the high road Laine Hanson had taken was, to be a jaw dropper.
posted by orange swan at 12:10 PM on November 1, 2020 [2 favorites]

“There is no weapon as powerful as that of an idea whose time has come. A woman will serve in the highest level of the executive!”

You did it, Kamala!
posted by Monochrome at 10:33 AM on November 7, 2020

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