Just because today is a federal holiday doesn’t mean The Blog takes a break! It’s still Monday — and yeah, we know The Mamas and The Papas told us you “can’t trust that day,” but you can trust that The Blog will always be here bright and early with a new Movie Monday review!
This week is a good one, and The Blog was very excited when our good buddy Meredith Bowen volunteered it — “Shattered Glass,” the real-life story of serial story fabricator Stephen Glass. We love it because it might be one that not many of you out there have seen, so we hope this encourages you to give it a shot.
And don’t forget — we want YOU to be our next guest reviewer! So send us an e-mail and let us know what we should put you down for!
Released: 2003. Length: 1:34.
Director:Billy Ray. Stars: Hayden Christensen, Peter Sarsgaard, Chloe Sevigny, Rosario Dawson, Hank Azaria, Steve Zahn.
Find it here: Amazon.com sells “Shattered Glass” for $10.99, though you can search their used dealers and find it as low as $3 plus shipping. Or pop it into your Netflix que.
Awards Circuit: Several wins in the minor-league awards, mostly for Sarsgaard for supporting actor. Biggest honor was his Golden Globe nomination.
Plot synopsis: The true story of the downfall of a talented-but-confused glory-seeking New Republic reporter, set against the drama of newsroom politics.
Reality Check: The gossip and juvenility of said politics were captured perfectly, and you feel your own stomach do flip-flops as Glass’ deception (and his life) take a nose dive.
Geek Factor: Watch in the first few scenes for Glass’ “Yeah, I guess I really do live here” admission — walking around the newsroom in his socks. Come on, you know you’ve ruined a few pairs that way.
Crucial scene not to be missed: When Chuck Lane (Sarsgaard) and staff writer Caitlin (Sevigny) have a late-night wrangle in the building’s lobby after Lane realizes Glass faked more than one article. Maybe not a major scene for civilian viewers, but Lane’s “we all sink or swim with this publication” mentality definitely hits home for the journalists in the audience.
Mere’s Review: One of my favorite moments in the film comes toward the end, when secretary Gloria offers her suggestion as to how all of Glass’ deceptions could have been avoided — with pictures. It’s a moment of schadenfreude and a time to loudly say “DUHHHH” like a 13-year-old girl for all of us “picture people.” But despite the slight joy I found in watching the downfall of Christensen’s manipulating-yet-naive Glass, this isn’t the emotion that makes me want to watch it over and over. It’s the surprise — every time — at how easy it seemed for Glass to slip through the cracks; how attached you get to the magazine; how you want to warn the other writers; how you want to scream every time Glass does his “I’ll probably just kill the story” routine (because it reminds you of people at your paper); how you wonder if it could be your paper.
Christensen loses all his Jedi charm as the nauseatingly self-effacing and sweet Glass. At first he’s completely convincing — you almost trust him and think about maybe feeling bad for him — but as the movie progresses, his awkward-guy mannerisms become a bit grating. Sarsgaard, though, is a delight throughout. His subtlety shines when Christensen starts acting like a caricature; he comes alive at the end of the movie. You get the feeling the man definitely did his research, or at least has a journalist in the family. He cuts a pitiful-but-powerful character as a less-than-beloved editor following the dismissal of Michael Kelly (Hank Azaria).
Though the movie drags a bit toward the middle — when it’s become apparent there’s something wrong with the story but before it all falls apart — the quick death-spiral that is the eventual revelation of the truth makes up for it. As for the plot, well, you can’t get better than reality. The movie is based on a Vanity Fair article — how loosely or accurately, I’m not sure. But at the end of the day, however embellished the dialogues and the drama were, it’s still a story about a journalist who wrote fiction, and that is enough to keep your eyes on the screen.
6.11.07: “Man On Fire” (Mike Rice)
6.18.07: “Citizen Kane” (Carrie Hoover)