Movie: The Ides of March
What it’s up for: Best Adapted Screenplay

The Ides of March is a fantastic example of how an excellent screenplay makes all the difference. In my last post, I complained that I was frustrated about the way The Help ended. TIM’s ending had even less resolution but the ending completely MADE the movie.

The basic premise of the movie is that Steven (Ryan Gosling) is a consultant for a Democratic presidential candidate, Mike Morris (Clooney). The entire movie takes place right before the Ohio primary (which, in real life, generally does happen in March). I don’t want to spoil the movie but the fact that the title is The Ides of March (when the title of the play it’s based on is called “Farragut North”) suggests to the main focus of the film.

Like I said, the movie is based on a play and it feels like a play – but in the best possible way. Great attention was given to the framing of the shots and scenes. The use of color and light was fantastic. The cinematography and art direction played into the tone of the film very well.

The writing. The writing was SO well done. It also worked SO well with the people in the cast. It flowed very naturally from each of them and every character had their own identity – which was partially due to the lines they had to read. One of the most important parts of a screenplay is not only the writing but how the writing works within a scene. Screenplays aren’t just the words the actors are supposed to say. It also sets the scene and how the camera should focus on the characters and scene as the script is read. It may just be because I was watching for it, but I felt like that aspect of TIM was really strong. There were scenes with very little speaking that were set up in such a way that when the characters did (or didn’t) speak, it was SIGNIFICANT. For example, the very last shot (no spoilers, don’t worry): all it was, was a slow zoom in on Ryan Gosling in a chair with some chatter in the background from other parts of the movie and in that moment, the whole purpose of the film was made.

All in all, I liked the movie. Clooney directed it and I think he did a great job. The crew he chose to make the film seemed to work well together, as evidenced by the product. The casting was fantastic. He worked with the play’s writer to create the screenplay, which leads me to believe that the movie is probably accurate to the play.

Also, Paul Giamatti is in it and I love Paul Giamatti in everything he’s ever done ever.

I’ve only seen one other film in this category (Hugo). I’d pick TIM over Hugo any day. I think the Academy would too. I need to see The Descendants still to make an accurate prediction.