This week's Tuesday's Overlooked Film is the 1998 comedy-drama Primary Colors.
Based on the highly successful 1996 novel by Newsweek writer Joe Klein (though first published anonymously), Primary Colors follows the primary presidential campaign of Jack Stanton (John Travolta), a Bill Clintonesque southern governor. We follow the campaign through the eyes of Henry Burton (Adrian Lester), an up and coming politico still learning the ropes. The two are joined by Jack's wife Susan (Emma Thompson), James Carville stand-in Richard (Billy Bob Thorton), spokeswoman Daisy (Maura Tierney), and a firecracker of a damage control specialist named Libby (played with gusto by Kathy Bates). Throughout the film, the team handle various scandals (both of Jack's and his opponents), internal feuding, and the suicide of a key member of their staff.
Although largely marketed as a comedy (as you'll see in the trailer to follow), the movie takes the viewer through a wide spectrum of emotions, from amusement to disgust at the behavior of those trying to seek what should be the highest office of maturity and professionalism. While still clearly a work of fiction, Primary Colors gives a glimpse into just how dark the political process can be, and encourages the viewer to really think critically about who we elect to office, and forces the viewer to realize that the biggest strength and weakness in our public officials is that they are all too human.
Here is the aforementioned trailer. Thanks!