Excerpt from a Movie Review of Broadcast News by
Critic Roger Ebert
Right at the center of "Broadcast
News" is a character named Jane Craig (Holly
Hunter), who is a news writer-producer for the Washington
bureau of a TV network. She is smart and fast, and she cherishes certain
beliefs about TV news -- one of them being that a story should be covered
by the person best qualified to cover it.
One of her best friends is Aaron Altman (Albert Brooks), a
bright, aggressive reporter. He's one of the best in the business, but
he's not especially good on camera. During a trip South, she meets Tom
Hurt), a sportscaster who cheerfully admits he has little
education, is not a good reader, and doesn't know much about current
events. But he has been hired for the Washington bureau because he looks
good and has a natural relationship with the camera.
The Hunter [Jane] character is only human. She is repelled by this
guy's credentials, but she likes his body. After he comes to Washington,
he quickly gains the attention of the network brass, while the Brooks
character [Aaron] goes into eclipse. Hunter [Jane] is torn
between the two men: Brooks [Aaron], who says he loves her and is
the better reporter, and Hurt [Tom], who says he wants to learn,
and who is sexier.
The tricky thing about "Broadcast
News" -- the quality in director James L. Brooks' screenplay
that makes it so special -- is that all three characters have a tendency
to grow emotionally absent-minded when it's a choice between romance and
work. Frankly, they'd rather work. After Hunter [Jane] whispers
into Hurt's [Tom’s] earpiece to talk him through a crucial live
report on a Middle East crisis, he kneels at her feet and says it was like
sex, having her voice inside his head. He never gets that excited about
sex. Neither does she.
Much of the plot of "Broadcast
News" centers around a piece that Hurt [Tom] reports
about "date rape." Listening to one woman's story, he is so moved that a
tear trickles down his cheek. It means a great deal to Hunter [Jane]
whether that tear is real or faked. Experienced TV people will question
why Hunter [Jane], a veteran producer, didn't immediately notice
the detail that bothers her so much later on. But in a way, "Broadcast
News" is not about details, but about the larger question of
whether TV news is becoming show business.
has an unbilled supporting role in the movie as the network's senior
anchorman, an irascible man who has high standards himself, but is not
above seeing his ratings assisted by coverage that may be questionable.
The implication is that the next anchor will be a
type [Tom], great on camera, but incapable of discerning
authenticity from fakery. Meanwhile, the
types [Aaron] will end up doing superior journalism in smaller
"markets" (the TV word for "cities"), and the
types [Jane] will keep on fighting all the old deadlines, plus a
new one: the biological clock.
News" has a lot of interesting things to say about television.
But the thing it does best is look into a certain kind of personality and
a certain kind of relationship. Like "Terms
of Endearment," the previous film by James L. Brooks, it does
not see relationships as a matter of meeting someone you like and falling
in love. Brooks, almost alone among major Hollywood filmmakers, knows that
some people have higher priorities than love, and deeper fears.
Broadcast News. The Internet Movie Database. Accessed Nov.
Ebert, Robert. Movie Reviews. Online. Accessed Nov. 18, 2005. Written
http://rogerebert.suntimes.com. Go to “Search” and type in