The truth, and nothing but the truth...
Andrew Ellington | I'm kind of everywhere | 11/14/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Wildly witty and richly textured with raw human connection; James L. Brooks' comedic masterpiece `Broadcast News' is most definitely one of a kind.
Well, talk about spilling it all in the opening sentence. I don't even know how to follow that up.
The film centers around three working bodies. You have Tom Grunick, the pretty boy turned TV-Reporter who is embittered with himself for being too good. He has a knack for something that he doesn't quite understand and it causes him to feel less than deserving; but it's apparently a mock-humility, as if he's searching for manipulated sympathies. Then you have Aaron Altman, a very gifted and passionate reporter who lacks the presence and connection that Tom so effortlessly oozes. He is battling his own insecurities as he is surely battling himself, trying to put up a front and become something he's not sure he wants to be. Stuck in the middle of this testosterone ridden battle is a female producer, Jane Craig, who struggles with her feelings for these two men as she struggles with her feelings about herself and where she is headed; professionally and personally.
`Broadcast News' is not a film merely about television, or the media, or the workplace but is a genuinely sincere look at relationships of the most important kind; the ones we have with ourselves.
Each of these characters is not a whole person. They are fractures shells of who they are meant to be, still struggling to put all their pieces together and figure out just who they truly are. Tom is a mess, manipulating himself to believe that his gift is to manipulate the masses. He believes that selling the news is more important than believing in it. He has a talent for something he isn't quite sure he cares for, and thus his talent is wasted. Jane is barely holding herself together as she attempts to separate her personal life from her professional life; a task that has taken its toll on both aspects. She has scheduled times throughout the day to just cry, as if she spent the remaining twenty-three hours of her day forcing herself not to cry. Aaron, to me, is the most interesting character because he seems to be the most confused. His love for Jane feels almost forced, as if he feels that that is how he is supposed to feel, when I get the feeling that he was more in love with Tom than Jane, and his hatred for the man and everything he stood for was more a way for him to reject the feelings he convinced himself were not really there. His personal life as well as his professional life is a mess and it's because he cannot for one second be honest with himself.
But that's just my take.
The three stars are all wonderful here (thus all garnering Oscar nominations), each one playing off the other with brilliant chemistry and naturalism. William Hurt is perfectly wounded in his demeanor, as if he is trying to constantly defend his stance even when he doesn't have to; and Brooks (who is lead here, not supporting) is marvelously conflicted, etching the truth within Aaron's lies so wonderfully. Holly Hunter, in my opinion, is a comic (and dramatic) gem here. She really understands Jane, who is the moral centerpiece for the film. She grasps her own demons and conflictions and dilemmas beautifully and creates one of her finest onscreen characters.
The supporting cast, including the brilliant Joan Cusack (she really should be in every movie) and the always amazing Jack Nicholson, is also top notch, but this show belongs to the three leads.
I definitely recommend this film, highly. It's no wonder that all three leads received nominations at the Oscars, or that the film was up for four other awards that night, including Original Screenplay and Best Picture. It is a shame that the film lost all seven though, especially since Holly Hunter's performance alone was the best in any category that year; bar none."
3.5 stars out of 4
One-Line Film Reviews | Easton, MD | 05/06/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The Bottom Line:
A fun and funny take on newscasters' love (both of other each other and of their work) in the 1980s, Broadcast News may not have deserved the slew of Oscar nominations it gathered but it's still a very entertaining film that doesn't wear out its welcome and offers 2 hours in the company of people that I'd enjoy spending time with."