Elizabeth Sloane (Jessica Chastain) is one of the most powerful and successful lobbyists in Washington DC. When her major firm is approached to represent the gun lobby, Sloane defects to a smaller firm – that is going up against those who want firearms to be more easily accessible. Sloane’s attempt to battle the gun lobby opens her up to attacks about her professional conduct, while her personal life continues to be an empty void.
Rated: Miss Sloane is rated M is for coarse language and sex scene.
Audience: Miss Sloane is like House of Cards, without the intense level of nastiness. This behind-the-scenes political drama is also like All The President’s Men, Michael Clayton or Thank You For Smoking.
What’s Good: Jessica Chastain was nominated for the Best Actress Oscar this year. She throws herself into being ruthless, calculating Sloane and creates a reliable portrait of female determination. The supporting cast is excellent (Mark Strong, Michael Stuhlbarg, Alison Pill) if mostly relegated to one-dimensional roles. As the smart speeches and shrewd schemes in Washington form a complicated web around Sloane’s campaign, Miss Sloane offers a lot of meaty content to chew on. From ethical to relationship dilemmas, this political drama is stuffed with stuff to think about.
What’s Not: Miss Sloane can seem a bit too clever for its own good. While you don’t have to be able to keep up with the rapid dialogue to understand or enjoy what’s happening, the barrage of words and motivations can sometimes grind the plot to a halt – as well as the audience’s attention. The smart but showy finale is a good example of how Miss Sloane keeps reminding us of its proud attempts to shock and surprise. As it does that, some of the sting can go out of the character development and their relationships.
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Spiritually Speaking: This better-than-average political drama might have been created to be a cautionary tale about the cost of success. Elizabeth Sloane has consciously decided that her entire life will be devoted to being the best at her job, which means she exists to beat opponents and win, win, win. Such an approach isn’t endorsed by this movie, though; we see Elizabeth in various states of anxiety, sadness, loneliness and emptiness. Her involvement with a male prostitute demonstrates her desire to clinically control everything while being unable to destroy the deep desire for some intimacy. As we watch Elizabeth take on the gun lobby, one of Jesus’ most challenging statements about human existence screams into mind: “For what does it benefit a [person] to gain the whole world, and forfeit their soul?” (Mark 8:36) Is success worth so much that we are willing to sacrifice everything else, including our soul?
Release Date: Now showing