Movie Review: “Miss Sloane”
Elizabeth Sloane (Jessica Chastain) is one of D.C.'s most reputable and most cunning political lobbyists. She has had a very successful career, but has not been faced with a challenge like the one she is about to face. She is trying to take on the issue of gun control, strongly opposing the general public's need to own guns. Her challenge is not having to convince pro-gun civilians, although that is an impossible task in and of itself. Instead, she has to take on the pro-gun political party.
Miss Sloane will soon realize that taking on this issue will come with a cost. Her recent actions have angered many within the country. She has angered civilians, who think she is trying to take away their guns, and she has angered those who profit from selling guns in the United States. Her career may be dragged through the dirt, and those she has angered may even be a threat to her life. Elizabeth Sloane knows the risks, but knows that this is an issue that must be addressed.
The Pros & Cons
Jessica Chastain (+8pts)
Jake Lacey (-2pts)
Gun Control (+6pts)
Miss Sloane's Past (-3pts)
Pro: Jessica Chastain (+8pts)
Whenever I see that Jessica Chastain is in a movie, it immediately peaks my interest in that movie. Whether the movies she is in are good or bad, her performances are always really strong. Miss Sloane was no exception of that, as Jessica Chastain's performance made this story a lot more interesting. Elizabeth Sloane was a fascinatingly complex character, and Jessica Chastain sunk her teeth into the role. Elizabeth Sloane had a strong will, and was driven to making the world a better place. She knew guns were a problem in the United States, and she wanted to put an end to that problem.
Elizabeth Sloane was determined to get new restrictions on guns, and was confident that it was the right decision to do so. She was strong-willed in that regard, but she was also vulnerable. Elizabeth Sloane's actions made her a target, and she was afraid of what would come of that. She also had a past that she was still trying to live with. She was strong, but she was also in pain, and it made her character very interesting to watch. Jessica Chastain was able to bring this character's conviction to the screen, but she did so while also bringing the character's pain and concerns. It was a complex role, and Jessica Chastain brought it to the screen in a way that I definitely enjoyed watching.
Con: Jake Lacey (-2pts)
The problem that I had with his character, had nothing to do with Jake Lacey. I know Jake Lacey as Pete from The Office, and I liked him in that role, so I was optimistic about his role in this movie. Unfortunately, I thought his character in Miss Sloane was severely unnecessary. The character popped up a few times, and was meant to provide an emotional arc for Miss Sloane, but it did not work for me.
I did not think that he and Jessica Chastain had good chemistry together at all, which made their relationship fall flat. I also did not understand what this storyline contributed to the overall plot with of this movie, other than adding extra drama—when more drama was not needed—to the movie and taking up screen-time. Again, I do not think the issue that I had with his character had anything to do with Jake Lacey himself. However, the storyline did not work for me, due to the lack of chemistry between his character and Elizabeth Sloane, and it made all of the scenes he was in feel like a waste of time. This was time that could have been spent making the gun control debate more two-sided, but I will get into that later.
Pro: Gun Control (+6pts)
This movie took a very obvious stance on the issue of gun control that currently faces the United States. Whether or not you agree with the solutions proposed by characters in this movie, it is hard to deny that there is currently a gun problem in this country, regardless of what you think the solution to that problem is. I have seen too many reviews for this movie that criticize it, because the reviewer disagreed with the opinion of the main character of this movie. This is an absurd and ridiculous way to review any movie. I cannot criticize or reward a movie based on the opinions of the characters in it.
That being said, I had my issues with how the filmmakers addressed the gun control problem, but I will get into that next. I give credit to the filmmakers of Miss Sloane for making a movie that was focused on such controversial issue. I found the whole lobbying process to be very interesting in this movie, as it showed the challenges that both sides of the political issue have to face. It addressed the fact that it really does not matter which side is right, what matters is which side has more money. This is not a concept that should surprise anyone, but I found it interesting to see a movie that focused on it as heavily as this one did. Gun violence and mass shootings are a huge problem in this country, but the decisions—right or wrong—come down to who has more money, and I liked how the filmmakers brought that issue into this movie.
Con: One-sided (-5pts)
I liked that the filmmakers were willing to make a movie about a controversial issue, but I was disappointed with their approach. They made a movie that was mostly one-sided. The filmmakers made their own opinion of guns very clear, but cared little about the other side of the argument. They sort of vilified anyone who is pro-gun, and sort of force-fed their own opinion to the audience.
This more or less wasted the opportunity to make a truly compelling and culturally relevant movie. The filmmakers had the opportunity to make a movie that showed the pros and cons of both sides. They could have showed what makes people so passionate on both sides of the argument, while also calling both sides into question and making the viewers think about their own views and the views of people they disagree with. Instead, they basically said: we are right, and everyone who disagrees us evil. Thus, the filmmakers delivered a movie about a controversial issue in which no one will come out of the movie thinking any differently than when they went in.
Pro: Unpredictable (+6pts)
This was a movie that kept me guessing in the best way. It was not one that conveniently omitted key plot points to pretend it was a cleverly unpredictable movie. I really had no idea how this movie would play out, and I enjoyed going along for the ride. It was a movie I may even have to watch a second time to see if there were obvious clues hidden throughout the movie that I completely missed the first time. When done right, a story that can keep me guessing significantly increases my enjoyment of the movie, and Miss Sloane was one such movie.
Con: Miss Sloane's Past (-3pts)
One of my biggest issues with the movie was that I wanted to learn more about Elizabeth Sloane. Fortunately, saying that this was one of my biggest issues with the movie does not mean that it was a “big” issue. Anyway, Elizabeth Sloane was portrayed as being a lying, egotistical and genius lobbyist who could not really relate to or connect with others. She mentioned having a difficult past that made her this way, but the filmmakers never explored that past. They just said that her past was troubled, and they left it at that, which left me wanting to know more. This movie could have been a lot more impactful if I was able to connect properly with the main character, and by not even showing a glimpse of what made her the way that she was, the filmmakers made it hard to do so.
Grade: B+ (85pts)
I had a couple of minor issues with Miss Sloane, but they were mostly outweighed by the movie’s strengths. To put them simply, I found Jake Lacey's character to be unnecessary, I would have liked to have seen more from Miss Sloane's past, and I thought the movie could have been far more compelling if the filmmakers did not portray it as a one-sided argument. However, I still thought this movie was good. Jessica Chastain delivered yet another great performance, as she played a very complex Elizabeth Sloane. I also really appreciate when filmmakers try to tackle controversial issues such as gun control, even though I did not like how the filmmakers approached the subject. This movie showed just how complicated and broken our political system is, regardless of where you fall on the issue of gun control, as it is a system that tends to reward the side with the bigger pocket book. While I think the filmmakers could have done a better job with it, I still really enjoyed this movie.