Today’s Prayer Focus

The Contender

MPA Rating: R-Rating (MPA) for strong sexual content and language
Very Offensive
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Year of Release:
USA Release:
Joan Allen in “The Contender”
Featuring Joan Allen, Christian Slater, Jeff Bridges, Gary Oldman, William Petersen
Director Rod Lurie, Denis Maloney
Producer Scott Shiffman, Steve Loglisci, Gary Oldman, Maurice Leblond, Rainer Bienger, Mark Frydman, James Spies, Marc Frydman, Douglas Urbanski, Willi Baer
Distributor Dreamworks SKG
Jeff Bridges as the President of the U.S.A. in “The Contender”

Here’s what the distributor says about their film: “When the Vice President of the United States dies suddenly, Senator Laine Hanson (Joan Allen) is chosen by the President (Jeff Bridges), to be the Vice Presidential replacement. Dogged with opposition from both parties, Hanson is challenged to prove that she is a strong enough politician to handle the job’s responsibilities. However, during the confirmation process, the fierce congressman Shelly Runyon (Gary Oldman) digs up secret information about her past personal life that sparks a huge political controversy.”

Viewer Comments
My husband and I went to see this movie with his parents on Christmas. I was appalled by the sexually explicit content and foul language used throughout this film. There were times that I had to close my eyes for fear of what might remain in my mind after I left the theater. As a Christian, I was very disappointed, and even asked Christ for forgiveness for seeing this movie. I would not recommend this movie to anyone. My Ratings: [Extremely Offensive / 2½]
D. Fisher, age 23
One of the themes of the makers of this movie is that personal life or character should not be a factor in judging fitness for public life. Yet the makers of this film felt it important for the audience to know that, in fact, our heroine was not guilty of the sexual misconduct for which she was accused (her candid confession to the President on the White House lawn). The makers of this film apparently decided that for the viewers to empathize with and approve of her character, this truth had to be revealed. If they had truly believed that personal life is/should be irrelevant to public life, then we, the viewers, should have never known if this sexual misconduct was true or not. My Ratings: [2½/3]
Mark Dawson, age 51
I was very disturbed by this movie. The average movie viewer will not realize the high level of propaganda of this film. Hollywood has clearly used this to promote its beliefs about feminism, gun control, abortion, personal character being irrelevant to public life, religious faith being a fantasy (many of these positions stated during a senate hearing with background patriotic music playing) and that conservatives are essentially irrational, mean spirited, meat loving hypocrites. The most alarming statement of all is when the heroine states that her “faith” is democracy and the only moral absolutes she lives by are the ones guided by her heart. I think I see more clearly how the world will come under the influence and control of the beast. I would call this film 98% propaganda, the other 2% being a decent plot of political intrigue. My Ratings: [2½/3]
Mark Dawson, age 51
Lainie Hanson may be an atheist. Lainie Hanson may have had an affair with a married man. Lainie Hanson may be pro-choice. Lainie Hanson may have (and I emphasize the “may” part) taken part in an orgy in college. But does that mean she should be denied the Vice Presidency simply because we may not agree with all of her beliefs? That is the question put forth in “The Contender” a powerful film about politics that plays so realistically I had to at times remind myself that I was watching a movie and not a documentary. The movie puts forth the message that although Lainie did some bad things in her past that she is only human and has some excellent qualities.

She did have an affair with a married man, but she admits her mistake and is repentant for her sin. “They caught you being human.” is how the President puts it. She is very strong and respects herself enough not to answer questions about her sexual past because she believes “its none of their business.” And she refuses to talk about it even though she may very well be innocent because she believes that providing any answer to that question will say that its all right for those men to ask these questions of her when they have no bearing on whether or not she could do the job.

“The Contender” is intelligent enough to deal with many issues besides the sex scandal. It deals intelligently with controversial issues such as abortion, religion, and women in the work place. There is a religious theme in this movie in that Christ picked Peter to be in charge of his church and Peter was far from perfect. He had moments where he lacked faith and lied about knowing Christ to save his own life. Yet Christ never revoked Peter’s position because he knew that despite his sins he was the right man for the job. The movie suggests that about Lainie Hanson.

I am a Christian, and I am Pro-Life so I don’t agree 100% with Lainie, but I admired her for her integrity and her intelligence. “The Contender” contains profanity and brief images of graphic sex. The performances are excellent. Joan Allen, Jeff Bridges, Sam Elliot, and Gary Oldman all deserve Oscar consideration. I especially admired the way that Oldman never overacted and played this villain as a plausible person. Bridges has a excellent final speech that sums up that pettiness and cheap gossip have no place when it comes to picking a leader and that none of us is perfect so who are we to judge someone’s past. “The Contender” is one of the year’s best films. My Ratings: [2½/5]
Andrew, age 24
This could have been another great movie, but Hollywood is once more pushing its agenda to destroy the moral fiber of our society. “The Contender” contains many, many 4-letter words including an over abundance of the f-word. Almost walked out during the first 30 minutes. God’s name was taken in vain numerous times and Christianity was put down several times including the put down of a child’s learning the name of Jesus from a pre-school teacher. Pro-Choice is promoted and Pro-Life is shown as a bunch of hypocrites. In the end atheism, sexual immorality in life and in the White House, homosexuality, and corrupt politics is an honored way of life. The final bit of shame is that our congress would confirm an individual to be Vice President of the United States who is an atheist, confesses to have had an affair with a married person causing a divorce, and then marring the person. My Ratings: [1/4]
SG and BG Owens, age 54
Movie Critics
…propaganda for the Democratic Party. The movie contains a skewed humanist worldview full of Marxism, feminism and political correctness that directly attacks Christianity…
Dr. Ted Baehr, Movieguide
…an encounter with two men (one having sex with a woman from behind while she concurrently performs oral sex on another man)…includes brief movement and nudity, and is seen a few times, while a still photo of that encounter is also seen…
…What’s inexcusable is the hypocrisy in this film…
Norm Schrager, Reel Views
…The longer it goes on… the harder it sells a politically trendy agenda that 99 percent of Hollywood subscribes to and maybe 35 percent of the rest of Americans do…
Ed Blank, Tribune-Review of Western Pennsylvania
…About 32 F-words… several religious obscenities…