“The Ides of March”: Sorry, Brad, but Ryan Gosling’s my guy right now

Image credit: Columbia Pictures

I probably first saw Ryan Gosling in The Mickey Mouse Club. I say probably — very probably, in fact — because Sam and Alex used to watch the show as young girls. Of course, I didn’t pay attention to the boys in the show, no matter how good-looking.

The next time I saw Ryan Gosling was probably in The Notebook because we have a DVD of the film and I know I saw it and liked it. For some reason, I never really noticed the good-looking young man who played Noah.

Then, I saw Fracture. It was just before we sold our old house to buy the one where we live right now. Early in 2008. And oh, my goodness, did I notice the actor who played William “Willy” Beachum, the ambitious deputy district attorney on his way to private law practice and the big bucks. I thought he looked familiar but I couldn’t place him.

Speedy and I just finished watching The Ides of March. Loved the movie. Loved Ryan Gosling in in it. I always thought that Fracture was my favorite Ryan Gosling film with Drive a close second but, after seeing The Ides of March, I think I’m changing my preferences.

Directed by George Clooney, The Ides of March is the story of Stephen Meyers (Gosling), deputy campaign manager to Governor and presidential aspirant Mike Morris (Clooney) during the Ohio Democratic primaries. Meyers, working under senior campaign manager Paul Zara (Philip Seymour Hoffman), is ambitious and highly skilled, and looks forward to a career in the White House. Ironically, he is also idealistic. He works for Morris not only for the win but also because he honestly believes in the integrity of the man and that, as President, he would really make a difference.

Lured with the promise of something important, Meyers meets with Tom Duffy, senior campaign manager (Paul Giamatti) of the other Democratic presidential aspirant, who entices him to jump ship and work with the opposing team. The meeting leads to Zara’s loss of confidence in Meyers and Meyers is fired. Meyers then goes to Duffy to accept the job offer but Duffy tells him there is no job. He just intended to get Meyers fired because he was good at his job and losing him would cripple the Morris campaign.

Jobless and facing professional ruin, Meyers meets with Morris and tells him to fire Zara and rehire him, Meyers, as senior campaign manager or he would go public with information that would end Morris’ political career.

In a nutshell, what a traumatic way to grow up overnight and lose one’s idealism.

The thing about Ryan Gosling is that he is a chameleon. He can wear jeans and get all greasy, and he looks the part wonderfully as he did in Drive. Put him in suits, tux or designer garb, and he looks the part too, as he did in Fracture and Crazy, Stupid Love. But, always, that face and those eyes which seem to convey so much with hardly a muscle twitching. And that voice, often bordering on monotone, that seems to caress even when he’s about to commit murder (cue: when he was about to kill his boss, Shannon, in Drive). Effective understatement which he likewise lent to his Stephen Meyers portrayal.

I’ve mentioned some of the actors in the cast aside from Ryan Gosling and you can just imagine what the movie is like with a cast like that. Clooney, Hoffman, Giamatti… Giamatti appears in three scenes but he delivered some of the film’s most memorable lines — a fine commentary on the lives of people who have made politics their profession. And then there’s Evan Rachel Wood. And where does Wood fit in the film? Ahhh, it’s her character that brings the story to its climax and its surprising end. Just watch it if you haven’t yet. Great film.

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There's more to movies and TV shows than the story and the characters. Sometimes, the jewelry and costumes are the real stars.

Except for quotes, stock photos and screen grabs, all text & images © Connie Veneracion. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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