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Like All the President's Men, it's a riveting story.
jdesando28 October 2015
"Absolute truth is a very rare and dangerous commodity in the context of professional journalism." Hunter S. Thompson

Every journalism student should see Truth, a true version of a true event that included liberal CBS; liberal anchor, Dan Rather (Robert Redford); and liberal producer for 60 minutes, Mary Mapes (Cate Blanchett). The latter two sacrificed their jobs possibly for the ideal of bringing down George W. Bush in his campaign to become president for the second time.

The journalists thought they had a story about Bush slacking in his National Guard tour, but what they had was forged documents that eventually cost them their jobs and credibility. Mapes was the prime agent of the fiasco, pushing to get a story on 60 Minutes when it was too close to deadline and more substantiation was needed for the source and his documents.

First-time director and seasoned-writer James Vanderbilt takes an almost cool approach, not quite as weighty as All the President's Men or as frenetic; the journalists young and old struggle with the profession's verity: Vet your stories and your sources until they bleed truth. Mapes and her vigilantes are up against a deadline, so more verifying of documents and sources is not possible. Thus, they should not have run with the story, but they did. Dan Rather, for all his experience as CBS news anchor, should not have trusted in Mapes' research, but he did.

Most of all they should not have trusted Lt. Colonel Bill Burkett (Stacy Keach), who provided the documents purporting to show Bush's slacking. Because Burkett was a known liar and fervent Kerry supporter, no one should have trusted him before corroborating his information. Journalism students, beware of cutting corners on the road to truth. The film is an excellent primer on best practices.

Truth is a classy, almost unbiased rendition of a true story, an entertaining thriller filled with first-rate actors. If there is one flaw, I submit for your consideration that the film is too reverent of Mapes and Rather, who made a blunder unworthy of their status and experience. They are more heroic than they deserve. As cautionary players on the big media stage, they are the finest examples of flawed human beings.

"I think journalism gets measured by the quality of information it presents, not the drama or the pyrotechnics associated with us." Bob Woodward
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Smart movie, stunning performances
ozjosh0330 January 2016
Truth is a thoughtful, subtle, quietly powerful movie - something you don't see much of these days. Yes, it's about the rights of wrongs of a journalistic investigation, part All The President's Men, part Shattered Glass. But it is also charts what has happened to news in recent decades, in particular how it has become a game of "Gotcha!", as the real issues, arguments and truths get lost in superficialities that better lend themselves to headlines and 30-second grabs, and how the news agenda is buffeted by politics, corporate demands and entertainment values. The films chief assets are a smart, snappy screenplay and an another astoundingly nuanced performance by Cate Blanchett. If she had not won an Oscar nomination for her riveting performance in Carol, then she should surely have been nominated for Truth.
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Never let the facts get in the way of a good story.
codefool4 May 2017
Warning: Spoilers
This is a very good film. The cinematography, writing, acting, pacing, and most everything else just works. Particularly satisfying is Redford's portrayal of Rather, while not an impression or imitation, treats the man with the respect which is his due. Based on Ms. Mapes's book covering the "Rathergate" scandal, it tends to cover both sides of the issue - was the story politically motivated? The film says "No!" but the words say "Yes!" It's left up to the viewer to decide - which is a welcome and refreshing movie experience in the days of Michael Moore leftist propaganda.

The problem I have with the story is the constant assertion that the CBS 60-Minutes news team did no thing other than pursue the truth. This is not the case by the film's own revelations. The team starts off with a clue that George W. Bush was AWOL during his "privileged" tour in the Texas Air National Guard, and that he was "released early" so he could attend Harvard. At times it reads like Stone's JFK with conspiracy theories flying about and fingers pointing at enlarged documents on the wall, building this "solid" case that Bush was deliberately put out of harms way because of who he is while others died in Vietnam. While the film does touch on John Kerry's "purple heart" debacle - it fails to mention stronger issues such as Bill Clinton being the beneficiary of friends in high places regarding Vietnam. The 60-Minutes crew has just one problem - they can't find any collaborating evidence to support their theory. They call everyone they can find and it isn't that no one is willing to talk about it, but they are constantly told there is no story here and getting hung up on. "No stings were pulled" they are constantly told. Suspecting that everyone is afraid of Bush, and rather than "following the facts to the truth," they continue to dig, and end up finding Bill Burkett, who has copies of two memos that seem to suggest that Bush was AWOL from the Air National Guard. They don't say that, but it's what Mapes WANTS to believe, and so they go with it. AWOL stands for "Away Without Leave" which means a soldier who has orders to be at a post at a certain time was not - in fact - there at that time and in violation of those orders. A soldier is not AWOL if he is away WITH permission - something the film glosses over. That is, we never know if Bush has permission or not - just that he was not on base to be evaluated - according to the memos.

They try to have the documents authenticated, and two of the four experts refuse to do it because they are not originals. Mapes pushes forward, backed by the belief that even if the memos themselves are fakes, the information on them is at least true, and that's good enough. They put the story together, and because 60-Minutes is being pre-emptied by - shudder, a Billy Graham crusade - they decide to push the story out in four days rather than - well - actually baking the story more before rushing it to air. According to the film, they were editing footage seconds before air time. But, it would seem, it was more important to get "the truth" out about Bush in the election year sooner than later, then say, do their jobs.

Calamity ensues after the airing, with everyone pointing out the very obvious proportional fonts used in the memos, the fact that they were copies of copies, the New Times Roman Font, and a silly stunt about the super- scripted "th" which indicate that the memos were produced using Microsoft Word. They actually dig through boxes of documents looking for a super-scripted "th" to "prove" that it was possible in 1972 to have a typewriter with such a feature. Tap-dancing and straw- grasping at its most desperate.

The film ends with an inquest, where Mapes defends the memos insisting that they must be real because of the intimate knowledge a forger would have to possess in order to create them, but then make the ridiculous mistake of creating them using Microsoft Word. That alone screams that the documents should not have been trusted, but Mapes did anyway because - well - you can't un-ring a bell and if it gets Kerry elected then it's all in being on the Right Side of History. Yet, it still doesn't excuse why the memo format wasn't questioned until it was pointed out to them. The punch line is that Mapes needed them to be true so they could smear Bush. Right or wrong, true or false, the story was run to smear Bush, which is NOT pursuance of the truth even if it should end up being the truth.

The film never takes a solid position on Bush, and I think that's the point. What is the truth here? It's left up to the viewer.
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Superb in every way--Do Not Miss
rollingpix25 October 2015
This is a terrific movie. Don't listen to people with an agenda who want to steer you away from this story. Excellent in every category. They don't make 'em like this very often any more. Yet of Redford's last 6 features, at least 3 are hard-hitting, honest dramas--this one, plus All Is Lost and Lions for Lambs. I have tremendous respect for his work. Blanchett is one of the best actors working now. Entire supporting cast is first rate, and I want to mention Rachael Blake and Andrew McFarlane as turning in superb work. The only thing that surprised me about the script was that Killian's secretary was left out of the story, and she confirmed that the content of the Killian memos was exactly as she remembered them--she agreed the typeface didn't look authentic to her, but the content was precisely what she typed for Killian. I remember because I saw the original 60 Minutes II broadcasts. Rather is a giant in journalism, and I still watch the CBS Evening News. It's still good, but at one time, CBS News was the finest news-gathering organization in the world.
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Adding to my long list of favorite movies.
thegirlwhosellsyoupopcorn13 November 2015
Despite getting pretty crappy reviews and leaving the theater I work at in about a week without bringing in many customers I loved Truth. It is fascinating as a political commentary on journalism, the mistrust certain people have of feminists and liberals with the "bias", and the responsibility of reporters and sources to give accurate information. After seeing this movie I believe that no matter your thoughts on Dan Rather, Mary Mapes, or George Bush you will think this movie tells a great story. The question remains, were those documents false? Were they real? Does it matter? This movie doesn't care if they were real or fake, regardless they caused many problems in the lives of the journalists who reported this story. The actors do a great job. I was especially impressed with the performance of Topher Grace whose character Mike Smith is funny and relatable. "I'm eating ramen three meals a day," talk about truth! This movie is being bashed as propaganda by Bush supporters, most of whom, I assume haven't actually seen the film. I am adding Truth to my favorite movies. I am giving it a ten out of ten and wholeheartedly recommend it. Please note that this is a reflection of my personal opinion, not paid for or influenced by any company affiliated with the movie Truth and that, while I am a proud employee of a national movie theater chain the views and opinions expressed on this blog are mine and not necessarily a reflection of the company where I work. This review originally appeared on my blog.
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A good and truthful movie, Kate is wonderful
willwardnyc30 October 2015
This movie is based on true events. How CBS caved in to the George Bush administration in 2004 to discredit a true news story. A major plot point hinges on the fact that rich and "connected" sons of influential Texans were allowed to enter the National Guard rather than be drafted and serve in Vietnam. CBS's internal investigators said it couldn't be proved. I know it's true because I served in the National Guard in another state and there were several people who got placed there because of "favors." and connections. Kate Blanchett is really good and totally believable as are the other characters. Maybe there is not so much action as ideas and conversation. But the movie rings very true and deserves to be seen.
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Prismark1027 March 2016
Truth is a polemic, the title is ironic as it tries to justify shoddy journalism.

In the year 2000, the producer for 60 minutes Mary Mapes (Cate Blanchett) wanted to investigate whether any strings were pulled for George W Bush to evade doing combat in Vietnam and instead got himself a nice number with the National Guard where he rarely showed up for duty and got extended period of leave. However because of personal circumstances she could not go much further.

In the run up to the 2004 elections by which time Bush is President and assembled a formidable dirty tricks brigade, Mapes who was an award winning producer was hit by a sucker punch which owed more to her stupidity and arrogance.

Mapes was given some photocopies of memos that confirm Bush was rarely in attendance at his National Guard unit. Time factors meant that fact checking was erroneous and Mapes and presenter Dan Rather (Robert Redford) ran with the story. The memos were forgeries and some serious players were apparently behind it although maybe the newsroom needed some old timers who could remember whether typewriters in the 1970s could type a certain raised font.

CBS put together an independent panel to investigate Mapes and her team but we are presented to view them as a kangaroo court.

The film really ties itself in knots to justify sloppy journalism and laments the course of television news in America.

Blanchett is centre stage here surrounded by an all star cast. Redford provides subtle support as Rather. As it has been said, 'an icon playing an icon.'

However this is no 'All the President's Men.' The film was mainly shot in Australia and this harms the film with a lack of location shooting in the USA. I also think it needed a more experienced director to handle the material better as it gets lost in the second half when it becomes plodding and loses sharpness.

As for television news in America, like the UK and other countries it has become lazy or maybe in the age of the internet we can gather news from various sources ourselves and like an old black and white puppet movie, we can see the strings being pulled.

Truth wants to justify that the 60 Minutes team were prepared to ask difficult questions. The team could not answer why they did such poor fact checking when investigating a sitting President who was by then involved in two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and some elements of the American public were in no mood to rock the boat.
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This is just a great movie and reminded me of All The President's Men. I highly recommend this. Tense and anger inducing.
cosmo_tiger1 February 2016
"You're supposed to put yourself out, seek the truth, and take what comes from it." During the election of 2004, 60 minutes producer, Mary Mapes (Blanchett) uncovers a story saying that President Bush went AWOL from the national guard for a year. Thinking she has enough evidence and enough verification Dan Rather (Redford) reports it to the world. Almost immediately the report is called into question and the careers of everyone involved are in jeopardy. This movie hits all the right notes for me is is a true story, it's political and historical. I was looking forward to this movie, and was not disappointed at all. I knew most of the story that took place, but this movie deals with the behind the scenes events that no one knew about. Regardless of your political beliefs this is a hard movie to ignore the facts of. I'm not talking about the facts of the report, but the events and the "witch hunt" that essentially took place. For example, none of the events were investigated but the font of the letters were. This is just a great movie and reminded me of All The President's Men. I highly recommend this. Overall, tense and anger inducing. A movie I highly recommend. I give this an A.
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A lead reporter with "issues" trips over herself, brings down the mighty
dale-5164913 March 2017
The movie is about a reporter played by Cate Blanchett, who uses some really questionable documents as proof for a story she wants to believe, then gets stung by the blogosphere.

Cate is doing a piece about Bush in the National Guard, but proof pivots on some really ghetto looking documents. It doesn't help that the guy providing the them looks like the kind who would run over your foot at Walmart on his rascal scooter, then you would feel too sorry for him to complain because his oxygen tank fell off the cart. The docs sort of look like they were faked by an 8th grader too.

The movie is not so much a historical piece, because it is so biased toward Dan Rather and Blanchett's characters. It is more of a feminist statement gone haywire.. It would be like if Blanchett entered a teen bikini contest to protest it's objectifying women, then was aghast when she didn't win. No matter the crowd ran out screaming, she entered to make a point, damn it, and you had better look!!! "OK, OK, maybe I can't prove the story, but I just know it's true!!!!!"

The reporter is the type Blanchett was was born to play. Big , bossy, brutish bitchy and blonde, she not so much works but more elbows her way thru the film . In addition she has all the props- wimpy house hubby, special needs type son (only ONE kid, natch), bad knock off of a Tudor house and sensible shoes--YIKES! It's no wonder she got fired, I kept worrying she was gonna get murdered. She has issues, MAJORLY, and they are of the deep rooted Daddy variety. She wasn't gonna ever end up on a stripper pole ( for obvious reasons), so instead she goes out hunting for revenge, but instead of her bod uses a pen, with mixed results.

I remember when Dan Rather got his first mega media star contract, decades ago but well into seven figures. In the film, they ask him why he went into "journalism". He should have answered "you call this journalism"? but instead quipped "curisosity"......yea, right.

? Remember that line from the film " Broadcast News", when the guy asked his father "what can you do if all you can do is look good?" A square jaw and veneer job can sure come in handy. hey Danny?
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Disgraced journalists attempt to nuance their slander.
st-shot31 October 2015
There is a sense of self parody to be found in the Pudovkin (Hunger), Eisenstein (Strike)single word title Truth that purports to tell it like it is in the grand but terse titles of ancient Bolshevik propaganda. Then as now we have the big lie if repeated enough becomes truth and in this straight faced telling we have Hollywood allowing nearly a decade to pass to re-hash none of what has changed in the hopes our memories of the incident will have faded. It hasn't.

In 2004 Dan Rather and his 60 Minutes producer Mary Mapes attempted to slander a sitting president (George Bush) up for re-election with false documents that claimed he had skipped out on National Guard duty years earlier. Their smoking gun however was doctored evidence of recently printed material that seasoned journalists should have walked away from but given Dan Rather's open hostility towards Republican Presidents he quixotically mounted his steed with loyal Sancho Panza Mapes at his side and went with the rumor without bona fide facts. CBS fired both of them for applying such amateur skills to their profession. Dan sued, Dan lost.

Hollywood has put a lot of lipstick on this pig by bringing out superstars past (Redford) and present (Blanchette with some of her new shiny Oscar performance leftover angst) to promote and sustain a lie that comes straight from the prevaricator's (Mapes' book) mouth and then further tarted up by a screenwriter specializing in Spider Man scripts. Sometimes the losers do get to write history. They attempt in this case to makeWoodward/Bernstein out of a vindictive Mo and Curley employing sloppy investigative skills bent on getting the scoop even if it is built on a foundation of sand. Meanwhile CBS execs are made to look like a nefarious group out of Network standing in the way and failing to back up our heroes and their inchoate story even if it does not pass the smell test. Truth would like you to believe CBS is part of a "right wing conspiracy" and a secret Bush supporter. Just a bit of a stretch but in keeping with Truth's tall tale.

A much better (and far more honest) story would be on the rise and fall of Nixon slayer Dan Rather's Shakespearean stumble from grace after assuming the mantle of CBS anchor Walter Cronkite and taking the top rated news show to last in the ratings as he had hissy fits on air made quirky statements and claimed to have been kidnapped by a Chicago taxi driver among other things. The divide between Cronkite, "the most honest man in America"and loose cannon Rather may well have brought on the distrust in American media that had the populace turn hard right to the bias viewsof Fox and left to the liberal mocking of comedy news shows. For this Rather should be vilified not lionized with a story that through lies of omission could not be further from the truth.
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Still pleading the case
ferguson-629 October 2015
Greetings again from the darkness. The film is based on the book written by Mary Mapes, "Truth and Duty: The Press, the President, and the Privilege of Power", and plays like a desperate attempt at rationalizing the actions of a TV producer, a TV news icon, their team of reporters and researchers, and the endless drive for ratings by a network news organization. Telling only your side of the story when a significant conflict is involved, does not encourage thinking people to take up your cause.

In 2004, Mary Mapes brought in her team to dig into the rumors that President George W Bush had received preferential treatment in military assignments and that his military service records were either incomplete, had been altered, or proved that he did not fulfill his service requirements. Ms. Mapes professional relationship with Dan Rather allowed her to bring him into the fold, and resulted in significant air time on CBS and "60 Minutes". Most of us know how this saga ended … Mapes and her team were let go, and Mr. Rather's time as the network news anchor was unceremoniously ended. While there may very well be substance to the story they were chasing, both the book and the movie act as Ms. Mapes defensive pleas of innocence.

In the film, Cate Blanchett plays Mary Mapes, and Robert Redford plays Dan Rather. Ms. Blanchett, as usual, is exceptional; and Redford is solid in capturing the essence of Rather (though the hair color variances are distracting). The other key players are: Topher Grace as reporter Mike Smith, Dennis Quaid as researcher and former Marine Lt. Colonel Roger Charles, Elisabeth Moss as Lucy Scott, Bruce Greenwood as Andrew Heyward (President of CBS News), Stacy Keach as Mapes source Lt. Colonel Bill Burkett, and Dermot Mulroney as CBS attorney Lawrence Lampher. The film is well cast, but it's not enough to make up for the weak script and the less-than-stellar direction from first timer James Vanderbilt (who did write the screenplay for Zodiac, and is the great-grandson of Albert G Vanderbilt).

Rather than provide any proof that the story was properly documented and confirmed, Mapes and Rather decry the loss of reporters who ask the "tough" questions. Their defense seems to be that they were brave enough to chase the story and ask questions. A sequence is included that positions these two as the last bastions for true news reporting, and that these days news organizations are more concerned with profits and ratings, than breaking a story. This argument conveniently omits the fact that information flows much more freely today than in "the good old days". The actions of politicians and industry leaders are constantly being questioned and scrutinized by the endless stream of bloggers and reporters – both amateurs and professionals. There is no shortage of questions being asked, and the ease with which accusations are leveled actually fits right in with the Mapes approach.

The frustrating part of the movie is that it's a missed opportunity to detail how "legitimate" news organizations go to extremes to document and verify their information and sources, and this is where Ms. Mapes' team fell short. Without intending to, the film plays more similar to Shattered Glass (2003) than All the President's Men (1976) … getting a story being more important than proving a story. We are left with the feeling that Ms. Mapes believes asking a question is more important than proving the facts. The cringe-inducing shot of Dan Rather's final broadcast leaves the viewers with the impression that the objective of the film was to place Mapes and Rather on a pedestal of righteousness. The only thing actually confirmed here is that heads rolling at CBS was the right (and only reasonable) call.
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Journalism is dying
tomsawyer-0185811 February 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Mainstream medias are losing sight of their only reason to exist : Truth. Looking back, this has become shockingly obvious.

The movie is brilliant in letting us into the preparing of the show, and we have the feeling all is sufficiently backed up.

Then we are confronted with the tearing apart of the story, piece by piece, first by internet users and then we realize once the power of the Neocons is upon it's victim, they won't care about truth and shout tons of lies to redirect public focus away from the topic, which was Bush's fake military service. The biggest media will surrender and sacrifice their best reporters just to keep the money flowing in.

What was it about Bush's informant, the German secret agent Curveball lying about chemical weapons in Irak? The US were told it wasn't true, but their leaders never had to pay the price to surrender the white house. Where were the medias to prevent war in Irak, Neocon's biggest lie which cost billions and thousands of lives.

The medias were the fourth power in democracies, but they are no longer a threat to governments propaganda, they have become their dogs.

This movie shows that reporters have to choose between career or truth. They can't have both, anymore. The forth power of democracies has shifted to the Internet, its unlimited communities are more effective investigators then any mainstream media on the leash.

Journalism is captured in a cage of truth. But the Internet can still use the same weapons as governments : Lies.

And while a lie is best told in between truth, reciprocity is also true.
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Great story with awesome performances - a Must-See movie
jdwildcountry25 October 2015
Warning: Spoilers
When the movie ended, I just thought "Wow." It brought back memories of "All the President's Men" with its buildup of drama, shocking revelations, and exquisite performances by Cate Blanchett and Robert Redford. Blanchett's performance was explosive, showing a full range of emotions and taking viewers along with the ups and downs. Although Redford's role was small, compared to most of his movies, he played it superbly, and the plot seemed well-fitted to his inquiring mind. The build-up of the music at the end, along with the plot of the story, is powerful. We are once again reminded of the importance of unbiased reporting and thorough fact-checking in investigations, and how politics can obscure the real purpose of an investigation. Did anyone ever document George W. Bush's activities during the period when he was supposed to be on military duty? I can't remember.
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Dan Rather as hapless accomplice to journalistic fraud. No heroes here..
PWNYCNY5 November 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Verify, verify, verify, except if you're a reporter in a Hollywood movie or a political operative masquerading as a reporter. A reporter deliberately goes out of her way to use an entire television news broadcast network as a cover to fabricate a news story meant to smear the President of the United States. She does this to promote a political agenda. The fabrication is so obvious, so grotesque and so transparent that it gives one cause to actually feel sympathy for her intended target. That alone, however, does not make this film a bad movie. The problem is that movie then tries to depict the reporter as a martyr for freedom of speech. At that point the story loses any semblance of coherence, and humor. It takes a steep nose dive to cinematic oblivion. The principal character of this movie, Mary Mapes, is so bad, reckless and shrill that she is reduced to being a caricature for the type who makes lots of noise to cover up their incompetence. Using, or rather abusing, her position as a lead reporter for a major television network, Mapes reveals herself for what she really is: a political operative masquerading as a reporter, and in the process nearly brings down an entire news organization. If this movie was meant to be a comedy or a spoof on network news, it might have generated some laughs as the front office big shots frantically scramble to limit the damage caused by a hysterical woman reporter who's a cross between Lucy Ricardo and Maude Findlay. Indeed, Lucille Ball or Beatrice Arthur would have been hilarious in this movie. Instead, the story plods along to its inevitably dismal conclusion with all who have anything to do with Mapes being ruined. This movie is an updated version of All the President's Men, except in reverse. This time, it's the reporters who are the bad guys. The story is negative, the acting stagy, interpersonal conflicts contrived, all of it depicting journalism at its most sordid. The only solid performance is that by Robert Redford playing a whimsical and hapless Dan Rather who knows that he's being taken for a ride by Mapes but can do nothing except report the junk that Mapes is feeding him because that's his job. Put it on the teleprompter and he'll read it. Discretion is not part of his program. After all, he's the anchorman and it's a story. If the story happens to be fabricated, then that's just a minor glitch.
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Intelligent, Devastating, Perfection
aharmas22 November 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Blanchett is one of Hollywood's biggest assets, and she rarely, if ever, has disappointed. She is a true chameleon, a woman who transforms herself from the inside out. Her portrayal of psychological deterioration rivaled Leigh's "Desire" in "Blue Jasmine". She crumbled in front of our eyes. She's tremendous in "Indiana Jones IV" playing her villain with ultimate gusto. She is wonderful in "The Aviator" a movie that needed to be much better to match her talents, and she's top-notch in "Notes from a Scandal", and the little seen, "The Gift". I could go on for a while about her enormous talents, but I have to admit that I wasn't ready to see her in "Truth." Here she gathers the best of previous performances to put together a character that is based on real events and has managed to grow stronger and confident, reach professional heights that fall apart as she begins to take her investigation into places that could be a bit problematic.

The title represents a play in words because the film does deliver the truth behind certain events, and it's the truth that imprisons and basically ruins her career for she seeks to deliver it, but there are elements around that will not permit that to happen. In fact, even her prosecutors become aware of the fact that she doesn't lie. It doesn't matter because there must be a sacrificial lamb, and it's her professional life that fall victim to some of the most unethical maneuvers politicians and lawyers can design.

There are many amazing moments in the film, all of them showing her magnetic force. She gains our empathy when we discover how difficult it's for a woman to survive the constant abuse of her family. It's worse when we see that it's almost impossible to gain respect in her line of work. It's horrible to see how some people are not hesitant to destroy one person's life if it pleases some privileged members of the establishment.

In fact, her big scene, during the closing parts of her testimony will have everyone in awe for a long time. There's truth there, and we should treasure it. She is now in my top 3 actresses of all time.
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When It Bleeds It Leads
lisacarlson6 February 2016
Truth is based on the book by former CBS producer Mary Mapes who was fired over her 60 Minutes segment on sitting President George W. Bush right before the national election in 2004. It also led to the resignation of news anchor Dan Rather in 2005. Cate Blanchett can do anything including a flawless American accent. The rest of the cast holds their own. This story will infuriate those who know how the 1% regularly manipulate any situation which may uncover their flaws and deception. The viewer can draw their own conclusions on how well the journalists performed but we also know how the process of telling the news has been forced to change over the years. The courage to have integrity has also been regularly challenged as we've gotten too politically correct.
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When covering the news turns into covering your ass
thefilmlawyers3 November 2015
Cate Blanchett stars as Mary Mapes, producer of the CBS 60 minutes programme hosted by Dan Rather (Robert Redford), in Truth. The story takes place during the Killian documents scandal when allegations arose that George Bush Jr went AWOL during the Vietnam War to dodge the draft. The controversy gets out of hand causing the resignation of Dan Rather as anchor of CBS news, and the dismissal of Mapes as producer. The film is based on the book by Mapes titled Truth and Duty: The Press, the President and the Privilege of Power.

There are multiple messages the film tries to get across. One could be that people in positions of power can get away with certain things pretty easily. Another is that people can take advantage of the chaos that ensues after the outcry of a loud minority on the internet, with the help of other media outlets, to distract from the main story. The main theme, I would say, is that bullies come in all forms, and can be highly destructive.

I think that the film-makers wanted to elicit from their audience opinions about power imbalance and accountability, and maybe even sensationalism. Clearly the other news agencies depicted in the movie were guilty of sensationalist behavior. Perhaps the writers and directors and actors wanted to simply tell a true story about a brilliant journalist who had to struggle very hard to combat the gravity of hyped up nonsense. It was an insult to Mapes' professionalism to have to deal with lame bloggers who weren't accountable to anything (assuming this is even true). Maybe that's the movie's biggest flaw. I don't know what it wanted me to believe. I'm not going to think that Mapes and Rather were innocent just because Quaid whispered a cliché monologue about why they're so compatible with each other (the plane scene).

An original draft of this review had me ranting about the political landscape of 2005. I (sort of?) learned about an important part of American media history. But the focus of the film kept changing. Some themes would come and go while others would resurface in little intervals (three to be exact). For example, the movie started out strong, with high hopes about evidence of the scandal being strong and hard hitting. Then quickly the plot takes a 90-degree turn, and now we're watching Mapes struggling to resolve one measly discrepancy that's grabbing all the media attention. After that disaster subsides, we begin watching a movie about a corporate investigation into false journalism. The storytelling was incoherent, finding myself with unanswered questions as the next big event came.

Most of my questions regarded the documents. The technical military jargon in the dialogue was difficult to follow, adding to the confusion. I found myself repeatedly asking: "who's that guy? Why is he mentioned all of the sudden? John Kerry was a thing back then?" That last question speaks to my ignorance, but still, the dialogue was clunky.

If you watch the film conscious of the underlying theme, it'll be less painful. The theme whose undertones influences all of Mapes' actions is her relationship with her abusive father. She admits at one point that he's the reason she needs to stand up to bullies. And in each of the three stages described above, that is precisely her motivation. First, she "asks questions" about a possibly incriminating aspect of Bush Jr's military history. But what happens? The bully strikes her down. She fights back by proving that the stupid discrepancy wasn't a problem after all. All is good, except now everyone forgot what the story was about. The bully returns with an investigation into her conduct. She didn't do anything inherently wrong (she makes some mistakes though), but she's treated with a disproportionate level of scrutiny. Meanwhile, a man who possibly went AWOL during wartime is winning a presidential election.

When you go to watch the movie, perceive it as a series of acts, like in a play. Act one, the scandal gets out. Act two, the haters launch their attack. Act three, the investigation. On a road which begins with covering the news, and ends with covering your butt, one thing holds; bullies suck.

I'm not watching it again, C grade

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Excellent film
blanche-212 February 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Cate Blanchett, Robert Redford, Dennis Quaid, and Bruce Greenwood star in "Truth" from 2015.

This is a film you can't win writing about. Just take a look at the message board.

The story concerns documents that were given to "60 Minutes" stating that Bush used family connections to get out of going to Vietnam, and that he was a national guard pilot who was rarely around and, as such, could not be evaluated.

Mary Mapes (Blanchett) attempts to verify the documents, finally getting verbal confirmation and people to talk on camera. Dan Rather reported on it.

Then information began to surface on the Internet that the documents were fakes, written, in fact, on a computer in Microsoft Word. A big thing was the appearance of a superscript. However, this was explained as well, though there were no originals.

Then people who had spoken to 60 Minutes started waffling. The powers- that-be began to get nervous. Before you know it, the careers of Dan Rather and Mary Mapes were over.

The acting by Blanchett and Redford was absolutely wonderful, both being two of my favorites. Topher Grace, Bruce Greenwood, and Elizabeth Moss also gave strong performances.

The presence of Robert Redford in a film usually signals a liberal agenda. So I'm surprised people with another point of view even watched this.

The film, to me anyway, comes down on the side of 60 Minutes, giving the impression that Mapes did all she could to verify the documents, and that ultimately she was let down because of political pressure to state the memos were untrue.

A few things, since I was alive back in the '70s: Like it or don't like it, people, not just Bush (if he did), used family connections to stay out of Vietnam. The fact that there were so many children from well-known families in this one unit was suspicious.

This seemed to me another example like the Challenger - people knew it was going to blow up but sent it up on schedule anyway. 60 Minutes had verified these documents up to a point, but given the date they wanted to broadcast, they didn't have enough time to investigate further.

Explosive information like this, I would think, has to be run down to the ground. They didn't want to wait until after the election, but the schedule was full except for a date coming up in five days.

Mapes made an excellent point when she appeared before the antagonistic investigative committee, that it would be next to impossible for someone to know the right people, have inside information, and do the research involved in creating the memos - and then, ruin it all by sitting down and typing the memos up in Microsoft Word.

Rather left the show feeling that journalism had lost its integrity, that it succumbed to pressure to kill a story.

One has to make one's own decision about all this. My own opinion is that 60 Minutes did believe these memos, they did not present them knowing they were false, but they probably needed to spend more time on them.

One of the most striking scenes occurs while Mapes is before the board and is asked: Don't you believe that some of these men from prominent families actually wanted to serve? Long silence. Mapes: No. I do not.

A tense, absorbing film. The only thing is, to see Robert Redford, Bruce Greenwood, and Dennis Quaid looking so old depressed me more than I can say. Robert Redford looked embalmed. Forty years ago...well, I can't go back, any more than 60 Minutes, Rather, and Mapes can.
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Paranoid delusions of dramatic irony
alpha-730324 February 2016
The title of this film should be either FEA or, more expressively, Them. It depicts both military officers and television reporters as aggressively paranoid delusional. Jeb Bush, if the delusional main characters of this film are correct, shall be the next President of the United States. And, if Hillary Clinton is the next President of the United States, such people would say that the reason is the affiliation between George Herbert Walker Bush and William Jefferson Clinton, saying it's all part of the "vast right wing conspiracy," ignoring that the Clintons coined that phrase. Whether or not 1968 typewriters had superscript "th" keys, they didn't have the ability to space characters proportionally as either Word Perfect did or Word does, and that fact alone should destroy the credibility of this film's main characters. The most truthful factor in this randomly weird film, whether or not its producers intended it, is its dramatic irony. And casting pseudointellectual Sundance Redford in it adds to the irony. HITRT
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Is it news or is it conjecture?
gbkmmaurstad2 October 2017
CBS prime news producer Mary Mapes (Cate Blanchett) and her staff investigate allegations that George W. Bush was given preferential treatment while in the military which kept him out of Viet Nam and that he may have also been AWOL for a periods of time.

Believing the memos in their position are hard evidence validating their claims, they prepare a segment for their weekly 60 Minutes program. News veteran Dan Rather delivers their findings before their viewing audience just months before the 2004 presidential election.

This film illustrates how people can convince themselves they are doing the right thing for all the wrong reasons and leads to the beginning of the downfall of news organizations. If you're not sure how the news is produced, you might want to see this one.
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Only Hollywood can take a lie and call it Truth
flyzone128 August 2016
Spoiler Alert! The movie's acting is good but I couldn't get over the story's title and message schizophrenia. In the end, I saw this story telling as mostly a big lie making excuses for Mapes. One scene during her investigation and interrogation is strung out seemingly to make a point that her credibility was unassailable and her information on the "OETR" report wellresearched. However, The forged letter with the modern fonts was incontrovertible proof of a big lie from my perspective and as someone with many years of technology experience I understand this better than most. Yet they still called the movie "Truth"? In the end, Mapes seems to be lionized by the story which adds to the confusion. What are the writers trying to tell us? Is the Truth a Lie? Did you think she was she telling the truth? My conclusion - she didn't deserve any kudos and she was nothing but a bigot. Good acting, disjointed story and, no, it's not the Truth.
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There's 'Truth' in Blanchett and Redford, But Not Much Else
ClaytonDavis23 September 2015
James Vanderbilt's feature debut "Truth" assembles the likes of two- time Academy Award winner Cate Blanchett, alongside Oscar-winner Robert Redford, in a story about how Mary Mapes and Dan Rather lost their careers following a "60 Minutes" story about George W. Bush's military records. While professionally and passionately executed with the performances of its cast, Vanderbilt's film doesn't quite have a strong enough handle on the material or the story he's trying to tell. What is left by the credits, is a duo of stellar turns, alongside often forced and unnatural dialogue. If anything, it'll be the work of those two veterans that will pull you through successfully but most importantly, it does spark a needed interest on the state of modern journalism. Vanderbilt should be applauded for that at minimum.

"Truth" begins with Mary Mapes (Blanchett) producing a "60 Minutes" special, in which host Dan Rather (Redford) presented documents of George W. Bush's military records, showing that he went AWOL during his time in the military and received special treatment. After the episode airing, bloggers and experts make accusations that the records are indeed fake. As Mapes and her team try anxiously to retrace their steps, inaccuracies and possible corruption is brought to light.

Putting politics aside, I've never read Mary Mapes' "Truth and Duty," the memoir on which the film is based upon. Going by what the film shows, Mapes' account of the aftermath following the "60 Minutes" special becomes a dog chasing its tail. Unsure if they were trying to portray an incompetent producer/journalist, or a misguided woman, led astray by false information. Nevertheless, Vanderbilt's script, at times, portrays a compelling argument in favor of the accuracy but leaves the audience wondering what he or anyone firmly believes. There is some great things happening in the story, that would have made a smarter, more interesting complete film. Vanderbilt explores the relationship of Mapes and her family, which makes for an interesting perspective to see her actions. Rather's tumultuous relationship with CBS is touched upon, but little else outside of the compounds of the cameras.

Calling back to a film like "Shattered Glass," Blanchett often feels like Hayden Christiansen, desperately believing the "story" but giving everyone around her doubt. Cate Blanchett's work explodes on screen, jolting in and out of coherent thoughts and persuasion, often never letting the viewer feel secure about their how they really feel about her. In one dynamite scene, and we'll call it her "Oscar scene," Blanchett controls the screen and her cast members with a bull-like charge, invoking and bringing to life, the best written scene of the film. It's one of her very best performances ever, and something that will courageously keep her in the Oscar conversation for Best Actress.

Robert Redford's stoic and reserved take on Dan Rather is a quiet storm, and likely the unsung hero of the film. He takes on the man's mannerisms but inserts his own sensibilities about how we perceive him to be. Dennis Quaid shines as an ex-Military personnel working on the story while Topher Grace goes a little bit overboard as a manic and shrill young journalists trying to find the conspiracy theories. Elisabeth Moss is regulated in general inquiries about the players behind the documents but offers little else in her underwritten role. Bruce Greenwood, as the president of CBS, is fantastically present. David Lyons also surprises as Josh Howard, a role that boils right to the top without going over. Same goes for the always diabolical Stacy Keach.

"Truth" excels in many of its technical merits. Brian Tyler's score offers depth and suspense to certain scenes while Mandy Walker's camera work softly maneuvers through the film. Richard Francis- Bruce's editing almost nailed a perfect ending to the film, but for whatever reason, was taken to one extra scene that the viewer truly didn't need.

"Truth" may not be an all-out homerun for Vanderbilt, but its a fine example of the exceptional work that Blanchett and Redford are capable of doing in any role they're given. Though not magnificently executed, I can't help but still ponder on its findings, and the questions that it brings up in its first few moments. He gets the mind thinking, and the juices flowing, before ultimately resting on the merits of two journalists that may or may not have been duped.
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Boring and Pretentious Most of the Time
SquigglyCrunch13 June 2016
Truth is a biography about Mary Mapes, a woman who, while working for the TV news program '60 Minutes' attempted to expose what George W. Bush did while in the military, and how she and her team ultimately have to deal with what happens because of this.

For the most part the movie is interesting. The presentation of the plot is decent, and the main character is developed well enough.

The rest of the characters, however, were pretty underdeveloped. I didn't know the names of anyone save for Mary Mapes herself, nor did I really care about any of them. The movie tried to make you care, I could tell, but they were so uninteresting and their moments of 'development' were so short lived that it barely affected the movie. Furthermore, I thought that Elizabeth Moss's character didn't fit into the movie very well, nor did I think she did a very good job acting.

The movie is very similar to 'Spotlight' which came out a month earlier, only this movie is much slower. Within the first half hour I was already bored, and this movie is two hours long.

Throughout the movie it played overly dramatic music that annoyed the crap out of me. It made the movie feel really pretentious actually. It acted like what was happening was so important and such a big deal, but it wasn't. I didn't care what was happening. It wasn't really even a serious topic. The music just didn't fit at all, and really took away from what little the movie had to offer.

Overall Truth really isn't any good. While it wasn't really always a displeasure to watch, as there were times in which the movie got more interesting, for the most part it was boring, full of uninteresting characters and at times pretentious. In the end I wouldn't recommend this movie.
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You make your own call.
blanbrn4 November 2015
"Truth" is one film that's not great still it's an eye opening film that makes you think as each and every viewer must inform his or her own call no matter how you see the issue or what political side of the table your on. It questions in today's modern world of media do or can we really as people believe and trust documents and phone conversations and word of mouth. It pays so much to investigate and dig and dig real deep for information for sure when it involves a president's war record and service time and it's critical to get it right just before the reelection campaign of the one in question. Anyway you know the facts and this film portrays the real life story of the newsroom drama that took place in 2004 as it involved the report on President George W. Bush's military service record and brought to light was he really present or away on some of his air national guard service and was he a draft get away guy of war was he a son of special privilege. All of this in question would bring down and cut short the jobs of CBS news producer Mary Mapes(Cate Blanchett) and CBS legend evening news anchor and reporter Dan Rather(Robert Redford). Overall a film that grips with drama and searches for answers still you the viewer make you own call about right or wrong or "Truth".
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A Requiem for The News
farrinda31 October 2015
Mike Smith: Why did you get into journalism?

Dan Rather: Curiosity. Why'd you get into it?

Mike Smith: You.

These three simple lines cut right to the heart of Truth, the new movie from established writer and first time director James Vanderbilt (Zodiac, The Amazing Spider-Man). The news used to consist of hard hitting investigative journalism, a public service that would expose relevant stories to shed light on the true condition of a deceptive world. Now, instead of covering stories like The Watergate Scandal or what was really happening in Vietnam, newscasters have become mouthpieces. They have become the personalities on TV who we look to for a recap of what happened last night on American Idol or what President Obama had for breakfast this morning. Truth attempts to shed light on the corruption of investigative journalism by corporate greed and political agendas which make it impossible for respected newscasters and their producers to do their jobs, and in so doing it shows us a dangerous future of smoke and mirrors that is already taking hold. Despite some of the film's minor faults, Truth is a beautiful and moving Requiem for The News.

When a scandal does come along that could rock the foundation of American politics, such as the surfacing of the so-called Killian Documents, there are factions that will try to kill the story no matter how much evidence of proof exists. This is the story of Truth, based on the book written by...

Check out the full review on David 'n the Dark! news/
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