077 - Broadcast News (1987)

Broadcast News follows two competing television news reporters in work and in affairs of the heart.

Neither reporter is perfect; Tom Grunick (William Hurt) has the looks and ability to pull off any on-the-spot anchoring position but lacks the knowledge of the industry, while Aaron Altman (Albert Brooks) has been working hard since his education in order to achieve a high position, but is constantly overlooked by his superiors.

While they differ in talents, they are both fond of their producer - Jane Craig (Holly Hunter). Meanwhile, she is focused solely on her job and has no time for anything other than a very efficient schedule.

Theatrical Poster
Source: Wikipedia
News reporting is a common theme in film. Often it appears in average romantic comedies (How To Lose A Guy In Ten Days, What Women Want) and focuses on magazine journalism with scatty women working in busy city offices.

The gender stereotyping continues as films that focus on the media move onto newspaper reporters. All The President's Men, for example, is one such film that sees the more serious side of news as a male-dominated world.

Broadcast News combines both sides of this, with its female producer and power-hungry male protagonists. Strictly speaking, it falls into the romantic comedy side as it focuses primarily on the relationship between the three stars of the film.

There are two main problems that the film draws attention to and they are still very relevant in today's world. Firstly, in a modern, bustling city where time is money it becomes very difficult to socialise and your colleagues end up becoming like close friends. Relationships can develop, with jealousy and envy coming as a result. As Jane finds out in Broadcast News, seeing somebody away from the workplace is often different than talking during working hours.

Secondly is the cut-throat actions of large businesses. This is portrayed by the television centre making cut-backs and reorganising the staffing. As the audience, it is easy to guess that one of the main characters will be 'moved on', but emotional changes throughout the film keep you changing sides between who you believe should go.

This is one film that starts poorly but grabs your attention the more you get to know the characters. The comedy is very low key - you won't often be laughing out loud - but there are some amusing one-liners ("who would invite a guy back who isn't good looking"). The subtle backstabbing between Tom and Aaron is second in comic value only to an early scene where Jane just reaches the deadline for her produced news article.

Interesting, thought-provoking and with an ending that you probably wouldn't have guessed at.