Classic Intel: Broadcast News - Online Review

'Brooks recognises the audience-friendly values of traditional romance and comedy tropes but uses the structure to discuss something with substance. Whilst Tom may be the face of the news, he understands it not a jot. Is this a problem?'

A film which instantly demands a second watch - and when could you last say that about a Romantic Comedy - Broadcast News is a layered, deep, look at relationships and news production, the two elements existing symbiotically in director James L. Brooks' sassy, attitude-laden, script. This is a Rom-Com which remembers character and style but also plot: we're not just following two people meant to be together for ever here, Broadcast News is far deeper than that.

In fact, we're not following two people at all, we're following three; Tom (William Hurt) an anchor with style, struggling to find his substance, Aaron (Albert Brooks) a reporter with knowledge and wit but no grace with the station and Jane (Holly Hunter) a workaholic producer with high morals and ideals of how news should be run. That the three come to form a violently passionate love triangle is predictable but the reasons surrounding their relationships (or lack of them) are less so, Jane torn on ethical reasons from Tom and his morphing of news coverage and on love reasons from Aaron, despite his steadfast approach.

Brooks recognises the audience-friendly values of traditional romance and comedy tropes but uses the structure to discuss something with substance. Whilst Tom may be the face of the news, he understands it not a jot. Is this a problem? Is what we are being fed by Tom actually news, or merely self-aggrandising pieces of individual interest? Hurt's character fits neither villain or hero mode straight off the bat. Very early on he recognises his weaknesses and tries to adapt but will he ever be able to, or is he destined to be overwhelmed by the media machine?

As Jane continues to be wooed by Tom's face-value charm, Broadcast News culminates in a scene that feels newly prescient in our tough economic times. Rarely has the reality of redundancy been so heartbreakingly captured as during 'the suits' savage restructuring of the office, complete with oily Jack Nicholson in anonymously un-comforting attendance.




Broadcast News was showing on Sky Anytime Plus.

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