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Movie Review

The Ides of March

MPAA Rating: R for pervasive language.

Reviewed by: Thaisha Geiger

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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Drama Adaptation
1 hr. 41 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
October 7, 2011 (wide—2,000+ theaters)
DVD: January 17, 2012
Copyright, Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment click photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment Copyright, Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment Copyright, Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment Copyright, Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment Copyright, Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment Copyright, Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment Copyright, Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment Copyright, Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment Copyright, Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment
Dirty politics

What part should morality play in politics? Answer

Does character matter in political leaders? Answer

Voting—Do Christians have an obligation to vote? Answer

Should Christians seek political power or should we only focus on evangelism? Answer

honesty, deception and lies


wisdom verus foolishness


presidential candidate

trials of political campaigning


Life Before Birth
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Featuring: Ryan GoslingStephen Myers
George ClooneyGovernor Mike Morris
Evan Rachel WoodMolly Stearns
Marisa TomeiIda Horowicz
Philip Seymour HoffmanPaul Zara
Paul GiamattiTom Duffy
Jeffrey Wright
Max Minghella … Ben Harper
more »
Director: George Clooney
Producer: Cross Creek Pictures
Exclusive Media Group
Smoke House
George Clooneyproducer
Leonardo DiCaprioexecutive producer
more »
Distributor: Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment

“Is this man our next president?”

“The Ides of March” tells the behind-the-scenes story of the presidential campaign of Governor Mike Morris (George Clooney). The entire plot takes place within the Ohio primary. His press secretary Stephen Myers (Ryan Gosling) fully believes in the governor and his goals for America’s future. Though both Stephen and the Governor say they will never make deals, when betrayals and the threat of loss enter the equation, moral compromises soon follow.

Though Stephen Myers is told he is naïve in having full belief in his employer candidate, campaign manager Paul Zara (Philip Seymour Hoffman) insists that the most important thing one can have within politics is loyalty. During the primary, Stephen has a brief affair with intern Molly Stearns (Evan Rachel Wood).

Directed by George Clooney, “The Ides of March” has topnotch talent and strong scenes. Though a bit predictable, the movie moves along at a good pace and has strong dialogue, particularly one between Stephen and Paul about loyalty. This year has proven very successful for Ryan Gosling, and of his recent films that I’ve seen, I believe this is among his best roles. The camera would often linger on his face as different emotions were silently acted out.

The main objectionable content is profanity and vulgarity. I counted over 100, including 70 “f” words, 26 sh_t, and 4 GDs. D_ck and pr_ck are used a handful of times, as well. While having a drink, Molly tells Stephens that she’s been trying to have sex with him for a while and asks if that’s slutty of her. While Stephen and Molly do have sex, they are only shown getting dressed the morning after. In a second scene, only their shoulders are shown, while lying on a bed and lightly kissing. An affair is discussed and an abortion takes place offscreen.

When the world begins to crash down around Stephen’s head, he decides to take some drastic measures. During one scene, Molly calls him earnestly, and I believe she tells him not to act like a fool. While honesty and dignity had set him and the governor apart, they soon blended in the stereotypical pollution of today’s political arena. In Ecclesiastes 7:7, Solomon wrote:

“Extortion turns a wise man into a fool, and a bribe corrupts the heart.”

Though the film is well made and especially well acted, I do not personally recommend this movie. It doesn’t offer anything new. Isn’t it already widely noted or at least believed that most all politicians will go to almost any length to win? Perhaps the film’s only failure is that we aren’t given a character with whom to emotionally connect. And because of this, we are simply witnesses to the abandonment of integrity and dignity, which wasn’t really a surprise, in itself.

Violence: Minor / Profanity: Heavy / Sex/Nudity: Mild

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Positive—This story grabbed me and pulled me in to the life of campaign team with a level of intensity that is rare in movies these days. The movie was a bit of a surprise, as it started out slowly, but became more and more compelling. It ended as a tragedy, and oddly enough, that surprised me. But, in hindsight, I think that’s the point of the story—to paint the political system as ultimately tragic. The moral stumbles—some expected, some unexpected—and the showing of the process that seems designed to hollow out people’s souls was very well done.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Roger S, age 49 (Canada)
Positive—We rented this in view of timeliness during an election year and with a desire to see an interesting plot. As empty nesters, we weren’t concerned about the R rating. The film moved slowly at first, but we decided to leave it on and were pleased, in the end. As Christians, the many F-words and God’s name taken in vain felt like visceral assaults throughout the film. However, the language underscored the depravity of political life and society, in general. Thankfully, the R rating wasn’t for having us sit through lots of nudity.

This movie certainly gives one much to think about, whether a believer or not, whether a political follower or not. The acting is superb. The things hinted at and implied were amazing, and the actors—especially Gosling—exhibited so many ranges of emotions. The scenes include several moments of silence and non-action, which are used very effectively.

If you are able to handle the language, I highly recommend this film and would go so far as to suggest that your teenagers watch it with you. It will leave you with many items to discuss and should be a valuable teaching experience for your family.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Jerri, age 52 (USA)
Neutral—One thing I can say about this movie is that it made me want to never have anything to do with politics (not that I wanted to, in the first place). It was definitely very interesting, for a one-time watch, although it had the typically annoying amount of f-words.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Kadie Jo, age 19 (USA)
Negative—Note: I just saw this movie a few days ago with XFinity On Demand. Based on a famous quote from “The Tragedie Of Julius Caesar” by William Shakespeare, “The Ides Of March” had a strong premise and a good cast. So what could go wrong? EVERYTHING.

First off, the film is very leftist in its tone, portraying conservative Republicans as the villains and demonizing their views on abortion and gay marriage (two hot-button issues which should be easy ones for people with common sense) as backwards and evil.

Secondly, almost all the characters combine God’s name with a mild curse word, thereby making it into a strong profanity. Why is it that almost every movie has to have either a gay character or someone who’s either a democrat to their bone marrow or someone who taketh the LORD’s name in vain, like saying Darn it? (God saith in His Word, “Thou shalt not take the Name of the LORD thy God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh His Name in vain.”)

So, there you have it: two very strong reasons as to why a great cast and a strong premise were wasted. Biblically speaking, the film has plenty of profanity (hence the R rating for pervasive language); however, what really bothered me, as I stated above, is the leftist tone of the movie (along with it’s very anti-Christian worldview; the first words at the beginning of the movie alone are enough to let you know what the agenda of the filmmakers is) and the combination of God’s Name with a mild curse word. Avoid this garbage.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3½
—D, age 26 (USA)

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