×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Oscars, Dan Rather & George W. Bush: ‘Truth’ is Beauty in Toronto

One of the great pleasures of awards season is discovering a film that was low on the radar, with little advance hype, but turns out to be an Oscar contender in multiple categories. “Truth” is one of those films, a real gem of the current Toronto Film Festival.

James Vanderbilt makes an impressive directing debut, scripting from Mary Mapes’ book about her 2004 “60 Minutes II” story with Dan Rather. They had alleged that cronies in the 1970s helped George W. Bush enlist in the National Guard to avoid Vietnam, further claiming he was basically AWOL most of the time. Bush was President up for re-election when the story aired; within 24 hours, the old-style news team was stunned because the then-burgeoning internet exploded with skeptics who questioned every detail of the report.

It’s going to be a hot-button movie, with online haters already blasting the film without seeing it, while general audiences are likely to embrace it and ignore the noise. It’s not really a political film, but more about the digital age we’ve entered, and about eternal questions like loyalty, betrayal and how elusive “hard facts” can be. As the title indicates, it’s about truth.

Cate Blanchett is outstanding as Mapes. As good as Blanchett is in this year’s “Carol,” she’s even better in “Truth,” as a woman who’s smart, gutsy, and always vulnerable, in the kind of role (and performance) that awards-voters love.

Robert Redford is excellent as Rather, capturing the voice and attitude; it’s one icon playing another. Redford deserves supporting-actor accolades, with only two challenges: There is stiff competition this year and the actor once again takes a difficult role and makes it look easy.

Vanderbilt and his entire team do terrific work. The film will reignite the Rather-Bush debate; the “60 Minutes II” report hit a nerve about the media, spin and political bias. The furor around the film won’t be that intense, but the veracity questions will resurface. However, the louder conversation is likely to be about the filmmakers’ skills.

More Film

  • Red Carpet Guide to the Bowtie

    Five Tips to a Perfect Bow Tie on Oscar Night

    Warren Alfie Baker is always on the hunt for just the right bow tie. He’s a Hollywood stylist who helps keep such clients as Lucas Hedges, Norman Reedus and Harry Shum Jr. looking sharp. “It seems like the easiest thing to sort out, but so many mistakes can be made,” Baker tells Variety. And the [...]

  • Francois Ozon's 'The Grace Of God'

    Francois Ozon's 'By The Grace Of God' Delivers Strong B.O. Opening in France

    Rolling off its triumph at the Berlin Film Festival where it won the Silver Bear, François Ozon’s Catholic church sexual abuse drama By “The Grace Of God” had a strong theatrical bow in France where it sold nearly 50,000 tickets on 290 screens on Feb. 20, its first day out One of the best opening [...]

  • David Oyelowo Peter Rabbit 2

    David Oyelowo Joins the Cast of Sony's 'Peter Rabbit' Sequel (EXCLUSIVE)

    Golden Globe nominee David Oyelowo is set to join the cast of Sony Pictures’ “Peter Rabbit 2,” the live-action hybrid sequel to the 2018 family hit, sources tell Variety. He joins Rose Byrne and Domhnall Gleeson, who are returning from the first film, as is James Corden in the voice of the mischievous Peter Rabbit. [...]

  • Luke Wilson Zombieland 2

    Luke Wilson Joins 'Zombieland' Sequel (EXCLUSIVE)

    Luke Wilson is set to join the ensemble of the upcoming “Zombieland” sequel, sources tell Variety. Wilson will star alongside Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, and Abigail Breslin in “Zombieland 2.” As previously reported, Zoey Deutch, Thomas Middleditch, and Rosario Dawson are also boarding the cast. In the sequel, the zombie slayers must face [...]

  • Awards Season Mens Fashion Harry Shum

    Men's Fashion Is Changing Things Up This Awards Season

    The standard black tuxedo men donned to awards shows for decades is quickly becoming an outmoded uniform. From bold colors, to striking textures, to novel silhouettes, men’s awards show looks are now just as fashion-forward as women’s. “It was a slow evolution and then a really quick evolution,” says Ilaria Urbinati, who styles Rami Malek, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content