“Ambition seduces. Power corrupts”: the essence of the film The Ides of March (2011): plot analysis, ending explanation, meaning of the film, similar movies.
Genre: thriller, drama
Year of production: 2011
Director: George Clooney
Actors: Ryan Gosling, George Clooney, Philip Seymour Hoffman
Slogan: “Ambition seduces. Power corrupts”
Awards and nominations: In 2012, the film received 4 Golden Globe nominations.
George Clooney’s film tells the story of the “three pillars” on which politics rests – lies, hypocrisy and the thirst for power. Therefore, the plot of the film “The Ides of March” can interest even those who are not at all interested in the affairs of the “powers of this world.”
In the end, politics is made by people, and watching their moral decline is always interesting, especially when it comes to on-screen characters.
What is the movie about
Brief description of the contents of the picture. The plot centers on Stephen Myers. The young man works in the campaign headquarters of Governor Mike Morris, a representative of the US Democratic Party. The events of the film take place during the decisive primaries in Ohio. Morris is one of the main contenders for the presidency.
Ryan Gosling played the role of Stephen Myers. Still from the film.
Stephen is very inspired by the idea of a Morris presidency. He considers him a good, honest person, fully shares his views and is confident that Mike is the one who can change life in the USA for the better.
Soon Stephen meets Molly, a pretty young intern from the Morris campaign – and the girl herself takes the initiative. Innocent flirting that begins in the workplace soon leads to a more serious relationship – Steven and Molly begin dating.
Overall, Morris’ campaign is going well. But one day Tom Duffy, a representative of Mike’s main rival, Ted Pullman, invites Myers to a meeting. There he invites the young man to join their campaign, to which he refuses. However, this meeting itself becomes his fatal mistake.
One day, Molly, in a fit of frankness, reveals to Stephen a dark secret connected with Morris. Some time ago, she entered the politician’s office, and he took her by force. Now she is pregnant with the governor’s child.
Shocked, Stephen decides to help the girl – he gives her money to terminate her pregnancy and takes her to a good clinic. Afterwards, he speaks with his formal superior, Paul Zara, and reports his recent meeting with Tom Duffy. The situation becomes more complicated, escalates to the limit, reporters from The New York Times are interested in information about the meeting, and in the end Myers is fired.
Then his friends turn away from Stephen, and Molly, confident that sooner or later her story with Morris will come out and the fate of Monica Lewinsky awaits her, decides to commit suicide. Deeply disappointed in Morris and in politics in general, realizing that his life is now devoid of any meaning, Stephen decides to act.
George Clooney as Mike Morris, Jennifer Ehle as Cindy Morris. Still from the film.
One day, Morris receives a call on his mobile phone that seriously frightens the politician: the name of the deceased Molly appears on the mobile screen. In the crowd, he catches his eye on Steven, who looks at him defiantly, making it clear that it is he who is calling. Reading the signal, Morris decides to talk to his former colleague.
At the meeting, Stephen categorically informs him that changes must occur in his campaign headquarters. In particular, Zara should leave, giving way to him, Myers. Morris grins cynically in response, but soon there is no trace of his smile left – Stephen tells him that otherwise he will tell the press what he did to Molly. According to him, the public can “swallow” anything, even accusations of theft and corruption, but it will never forgive a presidential candidate for harassment. “You’ll get roasted for this,” Myers says confidently.
However, the hardened politician is not going to give up so easily. Having gone through all the tactics – from denial to hidden threats, he eventually realizes that Stephen is no longer the young idealist he was before, but exactly the same “political shark”. After some thought, Morris agrees that their renewed collaboration does make sense.
Having fired Paul Zara, he appoints Myers in his place. Towards the end, Paul gives an interview and reports that everything is under control: his place will be taken by an experienced and intelligent person and his departure will not affect the further course of the campaign. At Molly’s funeral, former colleagues meet, and Paul, in a conversation with Stephen, almost openly says that in his face he warmed a snake on his chest. However, Myers is neither cold nor hot from the accusation of betrayal – he achieved his goal, headed the election headquarters…
The Ides of March Ending explained
Explanation of the ending of the picture. Morris meets with Senator Thompson, who openly supports his candidacy – this means that he is now given the “green light” to the presidency. Morris makes a fiery speech, and Stephen leaves and soon meets with an old friend, The New York Times reporter Ida Horovitch. She realizes that it is Stephen who is behind all these metamorphoses, but he does not want to talk to her.
At the very end, journalist John King asks Myers to comment on Thompson’s support for Morris, since this move effectively ends the race. “Stephen, how did things develop?” – asks the journalist. Myers looks wearily into the camera and that’s where the picture ends.
Given how it all started, the meaning of the ending of The Ides of March is probably that Stephen became something he didn’t want to be. His ideals were trampled, his faith was lost – he realized how false politics was. However, even being deeply disappointed, with such ambitions and intelligence, he is clearly not in the mood to leave the game and look for work in some consulting company. Therefore, now he has no choice but to constantly lie, dodge, and, if necessary, blackmail and manipulate.
The role of Paul Zara was played by Philip Seymour Hoffman. Still from the film.
The meaning of the film The Ides of March
The title of the painting “The Ides of March” refers to the story of Gaius Julius Caesar, illuminated in the works of Plutarch. According to legend, the dictator was predicted to die on the Ides of March. He actually died on March 15, 44 BC at the hands of conspirators, many of whom had previously been his friends and associates. The notorious knife in the back (according to one of the interpretations) was thrust into Caesar by a person very close to him, Marcus Junius Brutus. Over time, thanks to talented writers, he joined Judas Iscariot, and his name also became a household name.
The film is shot in the best traditions of the political novel – and it really has a literary basis. “Farragut North,” a play about the 2004 primary, was written by Beau Willimon, who previously worked on Gov. Howard Dean’s campaign.
In general, the genre of political novel was “born” in 1946, after the publication of Warren’s novel “All the King’s Men,” which talks about politics as a dirty business. Since then, nothing fundamentally new has been discovered either in prose or in cinema. The only thing that writers and directors have not spoken about so often is the “path of the hero,” the solution to the personality of a politician, his formation.
George Clooney’s film explores this theme. At the very beginning of “The Ides of March,” the main character, young and handsome Stephen Myers, although he has some political experience, is not yet a politician. He simply works for a person who positions himself as an honest fighter against theft and corruption. Initially devoted to his idol to the depths of his soul, at some point he is faced with reality, instantly loses his illusions and, having gone through political “universities,” comprehends the hidden meaning of behind-the-scenes intrigues. Through experience, Stephen comes to understand that the statement “politics is a dirty business” is not a beautiful phraseology at all, but a ruthless truth of life.
Still from the film.
It soon becomes clear that the possibility of getting dirty himself does not frighten him, and the cynical principle “the end justifies the means” is quite acceptable. The levers of pressure of an ambitious young man are blackmail and bargaining – everyone has to reckon with this, including the former idol. Stephen, this latter-day Brutus, feels betrayed and therefore, without a twinge of conscience, betrays the man he once trusted – this is how he takes revenge on him for the destroyed illusions. However, this does not pass without a trace for him: the “Ides of March” absorbs not only Morris, but also himself. After all, if initially he wanted to restore justice and even (possibly) stand up for the violated honor of Molly, who liked him, then in the end he had only one desire – to get a better job.
This is not the first time George Clooney has explored the behind-the-scenes of politics and large corporations. This time, the ins and outs of the election campaign of potential candidates for the position of president came into his field of vision. In their analysis of the film, many viewers note that the cynicism of the characters here is elevated to the absolute. They are sure that everything is bought and sold, and there is nothing wrong with betrayal and blackmail.
However, the point of Clooney’s film is not to expose a rusty political mechanism. First of all, this picture touches on problems that each of us probably faces. Here the theme of human essence is revealed, it talks about people’s ability to betray and duplicity. In addition, the film talks about the problem of an accidental mistake that can lead to huge losses. However, the key idea of the film is still the theme of the collapse of ideals and corrupting power. It is not new (just remember the novels of Dreiser and Fitzgerald), but it is relevant in any reality.
Still from the film.
Movie Video Review The Ides of March
Here are several films similar to the film “Ides of March” in plot and meaning:
- “Ghost” (France, Germany, Great Britain, 2009). On the eve of the release of the future bestseller, the memoirs of former British Prime Minister Adam Lang, one of the “literary blacks” mysteriously dies. A professional Phantom takes on the continuation of the book, who soon realizes that danger now threatens him too.
- “Cunning” (USA, 1997). Conrad Breen is a disaster specialist. He is invited with a request to “hush up” a sex scandal in which the American president was involved.
- “The Great Game” (USA, UK, France, 2009). Journalist McCaffrey investigates a series of murders. The death of a congressman’s mistress helps him realize that he is dealing with a monstrous conspiracy.
- “Frost v. Nixon” (Great Britain, France, USA, 2008). Since the Watergate scandal. Former President Richard Nixon decides to break his silence and give an interview.