In "Broadcast News," people use high-pressure jobs to avoid themselves. Newspapers, ad agencies, emergency rooms, and television stations are filled with people who love deadline stress' adrenalin rush. Even with enough time to finish a task, they wait to start, guaranteeing a scramble, and are always behind, always busy.
Ostensibly a romantic triangle, the film shows three people toying with the idea of love, but obsessed by TV work, as we see from the inside out. In one scene, a producer and tape editor sweat to get a report ready and on air in 52 seconds. All that matters is to make things look good; human issues are lost. People who deliver get rewarded, but yesterday's work is forgotten.
Jane Craig (Hunter) is a news writer-producer. Smart and fast, she knows the best-qualified person should cover a story. Her bright, aggressive reporter friend, Aaron Altman (Brooks), is among the best, but not great on camera. Jane meets Tom Grunick (Hurt), a sportscaster who blithely admits having little education, being a poor reader, and not up on events, but looks good and is at ease on camera. Jane is repelled by Tom's credentials, but she likes him - or his body. He's hired, quickly gets his Washington bosses' approval, and Aaron is eclipsed. Hunter is torn: Aaron loves her, and is the better reporter, but Tom wants to learn the news, and is sexier. All three characters are emotionally absent when they choose between love and work; they'd rather work. Jane talks Tom through a crucial live report by whispering into his earpiece; he later says it was like sex - but he never gets so excited about sex. Nor does she.
The story centers around reports on date rape, as the film asks the larger question of whether TV news is becoming show business. Jack Nicholson in an unbilled role is a senior anchor, a curmudgeon whose high standards somehow allow him joy when his ratings jump after some questionable coverage.
The next anchor will be a Tom Grunick - great on camera but not skilled; the Aaron Altmans will be superior journalists in minor cities, and Jane will go on fighting deadlines, plus the one on her biological clock. "Broadcast News" says a lot about a kind of personality and certain relationships; it's not about meeting and falling in love. Brooks, almost alone among Hollywood filmmakers, knows some people have higher priorities than love, and deeper fears.
James L. Brooks
James L. Brooks
William Hurt, Albert Brooks, Holly Hunter, Lois Chiles, Joan Cusack, Robert Prosky
Television news; high-stress jobs;
Englsih Reviewer's Name:
When using above purchase link, type the movie name in Search Box that will appear, and select DVD or VHS.