The 68th Venice Film Festival opened this Wednesday with George Clooney’s political thriller The Ides of March, and early critical buzz is already spelling out a potential Oscar nomination for our very own Ryan Gosling. The movie, based on Beau Willimon’s play Farragut North, follows true-blue liberal Governor Mike Morris (George Clooney) as he struggles to maintain his ideals throughout a cutthroat Democratic primary. Gosling stars as Stephen Meyers, a slick and gifted young press secretary who falls prey to both romantic and political temptation. The film will screen at TIFF on Friday, September 9.
While reviewers generally expressed some disappointment that what begins as a sharp satire of American politics turns into a relatively conventional Hollywood thriller, there seems to be no doubt about the quality of Gosling’s performance: the Hollywood Reporter’s Deborah Young praises the film’s “superb cast, led by a ruthlessly idealistic Ryan Gosling,” and The Telegraph’s David Gritten goes so far as to call him the best of the bunch (a bunch comprised of award show darlings Philip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Giamatti, Evan Rachel Wood, Marisa Tomei and Clooney, no less).
Personally, we think the chameleonic Gosling should have won an Oscar already. We loved him as a troubled high school teacher in Half Nelson, a reality-challenged yet lovable dope in Lars and the Real Girl, and a hopelessly devoted romantic in last year’s Blue Valentine. Maybe “morally conflicted political wunderkind” will be the role to finally land him that gold statuette. -Allison Friedman