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Primary Colors

Primary Colors

1998
Comedy
Drama
2h 23m
Your probable score
Avg Percentile 48.99% from 874 total ratings

Ratings & Reviews

(874)
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Rated 25 May 2010
70
45th
Gee, I wonder who JT is playing?? But it's not based on a "real" politician! OKAY! That aside, not a bad movie.
Rated 09 Oct 2010
95
88th
Brilliant. The only thing keeping this from being perfect is Thompson's poor accent. It's easily one of the best screenplays ever written, and does not talk down to an audience about politics. It is a comment on leadership, on heroism, on masculinity, and America. It's great.
Rated 03 Dec 2016
75
41st
The inner turmoil experienced by 2 experienced political aides in the second half over whether or not to get rid of the opposition by exposing their scandalous lies surely seemed implausible in '98, but after 2016 it seems like pure fantasy. However, the film's final speech about being forced to choose between 2 shady liars w/ only one sincerely wanting to help (bizarrely, Travolta's tears early on - which seem particularly false - mark him as the genuine article) is especially resonant now.
Rated 24 Apr 2009
74
43rd
Funny and well put together; I miss the days when Billy Bob Thornton was a decent character actor. Slash Emma Thompson makes an excellent Hillary.
Rated 09 Jun 2021
49
46th
It's decent and cynical, but with the Clinton administration 20 years in the past and Hillary's career dead and buried Primary Colors exists as a time capsule more than anything. Probably would make a decent double bill with Wag the Dog.
Rated 26 Jan 2011
78
51st
Underrated. Nichols has a unique knack for making films that feel authentically American. A bleak, near-great meditation on the different ways idealism can destroy itself. Sharp screenplay, tons of great acting; I promise that if you can get past the horrible accent Thompson is pretty damn good. She, Travolta, Hagman, and Thornton are all fantastic. But Bates, a few missteps aside, gives the performance of the film and acts as its heartbreaking moral center. She probably deserved the Oscar.
Rated 20 Jan 2016
55
35th
Besides an amazing performance by Kathy Bates, Primary Colors is a weird, little politics movie that never catches its mark. While obviously trying to be funny, very few of the jokes land, and the cast is never funny aside from them acting like The Clintons. I'm not this movie's number one fan, but it could be a lot worse, too.
Rated 12 Oct 2011
66
51st
A tad on the slow side, Bates is great though.
Rated 21 Apr 2009
80
79th
Travolta plays a pretty good Clinton.
Rated 14 Aug 2007
32
0th
Wretched. I adore Emma Thompson, but in this movie she puts on the worst accent I've ever heard. Just a stupid, boring movie all-around. I thought the book was fascinating, and this just abandons all the interesting bits. Only watchable moments involve Kathy Bates.
Rated 14 Aug 2007
16
2nd
I finally managed to finish this the 23rd time they showed it on TBS. Whew.
Rated 22 Apr 2008
80
68th
Yes, it's John Travolta as Bill Clinton. Entertaining look at American politics. Kathy Bates is great, as usual
Rated 22 Aug 2007
80
80th
Very Good
Rated 03 Aug 2012
80
66th
Primary Colors is a fairly long movie, but I didn't find it particularly dull at any point. The acting and writing are strong, particularly with a great turn from Bates.
Rated 02 Apr 2013
68
47th
Becomes bizarrely and inexplicably schmaltzy toward the end, but is, until then, remarkably entertaining.
Rated 06 Feb 2010
75
36th
Meh. I hate politicians and find most politics to be simultaneously disgusting and banal, so the subject of this movie was not terribly appealing to me. From a strictly technical and cinematic point of view, though, this was a decent (if predictable) movie
Rated 11 Mar 2015
35
25th
Mike Nichols and Elaine May should have been able to create something less dully conformist and unadventurous. Or not do it. Anyone who thought this was a cynical or even realistic portrayal of US politics or any kind of satire wasn't paying attention to either US politics or this movie.
Rated 01 Aug 2009
42
31st
Not great, but not awful. Put it this way; I didn't mind sitting though it, but I won't be watching it again.
Rated 31 Mar 2008
20
7th
I saw a rough cut of this months ago, i know, I've been holding out on you. Some interesting stuff sprinkled liberally in three hours of boredom. To be sure it may play better now, but I'm not plowing through it again to find out. Avoid.
Rated 23 May 2010
88
82nd
As a political buff I love this movie. It doesn't have any wild car chases, dirty sex scenes or people doing drugs. The movie is all talk like real politics. And like real politics all the sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll is behind the scenes. Politics is like hotdogs. Nobody wants to know how the sausage is made, they just want to eat it.
Rated 14 Aug 2007
72
27th
Long-winded.
Rated 01 Dec 2023
58
26th
It seems Mike Nichols had/has good political attitude, and had predicted that next democrat president would be American-African!!
Rated 22 Feb 2011
60
79th
This film is as strange in tone as Mike Nichols' filmography.
Rated 03 Aug 2008
87
75th
Very good
Rated 26 Dec 2022
80
68th
It's a much smarter and deeper film than you'd expect (or rather, it's as smart and deep as you should expect from a Elaine May screenplay). It raises questions about how much compromise one should be willing to accept in order to get the best real world results available to you, and then doesn't provide easy answers.
Rated 18 Apr 2008
85
57th
Gonzo acting. And yeah, Travolta kind of looks like Bill Clinton as if portrayed by Bill Kristol, but the acting is great and the behind-the-scenes shenanigans and the weird mix of sincerity and cutthroat tactics of the campaign is fascinating.
Rated 10 Feb 2008
73
76th
It gets a little melo dramatic in places but for the most part it's a fairly well balanced and well paced flick.
Rated 08 Jul 2015
81
66th
Sharply written and well-performed. I'm not sure this is saying anything particularly new about life in the political world, but *how* the movie says it really sets it apart. Nichols blends a broadly comic tone with an accompanying heaviness over the cost of living in this world. For this reason, I'm mystified by those who believe this is lionizing the Clintons. Everything that occurs with the magnificent Kathy Bates character seems to fly in the face of that conclusion.
Rated 13 Dec 2023
50
27th
Didn't finish the novel but devoured reputationally-damaged "forensic linguist" Donald Foster's AUTHOR UNKNOWN, in which he recounts his hired outing of Joe Klein and seems to relish re-airing his suppositions on the author's racial and sexual anxieties (and Klein's anxieties about the airing of those anxieties), most of which come through loud and clear in this film version. Still not interesting enough. But Kathy Bates is superb as usual and some sub-Sturgessian feeling accumulates.
Rated 26 Dec 2008
59
51st
A not-so-bad satyr of politics.
Rated 16 Sep 2007
75
79th
Very good movie.
Rated 27 Oct 2007
95
70th
This is probably one of the more underrated films of Mike Nichols' career and worth owning for the performances alone. It reminds me of Noah Wyle describing the cast's reaction to Nicholson after the first table read for "A Few Good Men": "Oh, we're playing pro ball?" Travolta, Thompson, Thornton, Bates...these guys came to play.
Rated 14 Aug 2007
43
13th
An okay movie, a better book. The movie really loses a lot of the teeth of the book. Quite a disappointment really.

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