Broadcast News (1987)

Genres - Comedy Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Romantic Comedy, Workplace Comedy, Media Satire  |   Release Date - Dec 16, 1987 (USA)  |   Run Time - 131 min.  |   Countries - United States  |   MPAA Rating - R
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Review by Rebecca Flint Marx

A film as much about the nature of relationships as the world of television journalism, Broadcast News was one of the most timely films of the 1980s. Released during a decade notorious for its emphasis on making money, it provided a gently satiric commentary on people whose lives are driven by their jobs. That said, Broadcast News is far from being a cautionary tale: instead, it is a funny, touching portrait of three people in the midst of an often turbulent love affair with their work and, less occasionally, with each other. As the film's leads, Holly Hunter, William Hurt, and Albert Brooks give some of the most satisfying performances of their careers. Hunter brings poignancy to her tightly-wound, deeply conflicted, and often hilarious career woman, while Brooks is deeply likeable as a brilliant but lovelorn journalist. Hurt, meanwhile, oozes the potent but befuddled charm of a perpetual big man on campus; rather than make Gunric into a dim bulb caricature, he manages to give him an unburdened complexity. And in his brief, unbilled cameo as the network's unctuous national anchor, Jack Nicholson displays the sort of sharklike charm of which only he is capable. As a director, James L. Brooks is at his best here, injecting his film with warmth and insight. His take on relationships is a novel one--unlike many filmmakers, he is brave enough to show his audience that for some people, love is less of a priority in life than one of its unavoidable byproducts. True passion, he says with frank confidence, is as much the province of the newsroom as the bedroom.