Free spirit that I am, I took some time out for a cinema fix after a busy week. Mrs WP was otherwise occupied, so it was a lone choice, and it boiled down to either The Iron Lady or The Ides of March. What a dilemma! Both portray political dramas and the machinations behind the scenes – the first focused on the conservative Thatcher years in ’70s Britain and the second on a fictional but contemporary Democrat campaign in Ohio, apparently a benchmark state in the primaries for presidential election.
Because of the currency of the 2012 USA elections, I chose The Ides of March, hoping to gain some insight to the mysteries of the USA election system. I confess I remain as mystified as ever, and perhaps in Pollyannish naivety, wonder if the cynicism and duplicity in which the plot is soaked was used for dramatic effect or, reverting to my nay-saying shadow side, fighting the evidence that often shouts at us on a daily basis, “Yep, that’s the way it is.” Pragmatism usurps loyalty; expediency trumps ideals, political survival smothers ethics, both personal and public.
Will The Iron Lady convey something different? I sense another cinema event occurring soon.
- Movie Review: Ides of March (socyberty.com)
4 thoughts on “Film Review: The Ides of March”
Hollywood: it does love its extremes, its all-or-nothing scenarios. I’m learning that this thinking is just as much an illusion as a Hollywood set. Very few of us are this extreme-rather- we are somewhere along a continuum. We may be duplicitous at times but not in other contexts. But continuums do not make for box-office-sellouts.
Even The Iron Lady had her redeeming features. Polarising is a cheap movie effect.
Someone commented elsewhere that “The Iron Lady” was very sensitively done and that Margaret Thatcher was well portrayed by Meryl Streep. Maybe sometimes Hollywood redeems itself, and maybe sometimes politicians take their cue from the crasser side of Hollywood (some Hollywood notables even end up in politics!)
Here’s the sentence that so stands out in your posting: “Pragmatism usurps loyalty; expediency trumps ideals, political survival smothers ethics, both personal and public.” I believe that unfortunately this does sometime happen in US politics. Maybe in politics everywhere.
But it’s important for my peace of mind–and the steadfastness of my spirit–to also believe that deep down there is a seed of goodness within each of us. We never know what word or action or event will call forth growth. The seed will break asunder. Slowly, inexorably, the green stem will edge its way upward through the dark ground into welcoming light.
I need to believe that about our politicians. That something, someone, will break open their hardened resistance to the common good and that they will embrace the Oneness of All Creation.
Hi Dee – thanks for your thoughtful observations. Most politicians of my acquaintance are people of high ideals, good heart, and a desire to use their skills, connections and acumen for the greater good of all. They fight a rearguard battle against deeply entrenched systems that are driven by collective influences that are not altruistic but pragmatic. They are constantly tempted to compromise with expediency and those who, for their own ends, are very happy to fund campaigns for their continued incumbency. They are denied “the conscience vote” and told they must support the party line ( a real hot potato in Aussie politics at the moment). And, being human, they will often exploit the vulnerability of each other’s Achilles heel. Some recognise the temptation and fight it; others succumb.
Sad to say, this dynamic often appears not just in public politics, but the corporate board room, the school playground and, yes, even the church vestry!
Against such the green shoot struggles towards the light. It is important that it not be starved of the nutrients, moisture and light that will bring it forth. So it is good that there are people like you who will hold politicians to the words and principles that first motivated them for public service.
Light always trumps darkness!