The new political drama “Miss Sloane” premiered this past Friday at the AFI Festival in Los Angles and the first set of reviews are finally trickling out. The film stars Jessica Chastain as Elizabeth Sloane, a ruthless political lobbyist who goes up against the gun lobby and discovers she’s up against the most powerful opponent of her life. Critics have so far given the film mixed reviews, but leave room to compliment Chastain’s performance.
IndieWire’s own David Ehrlich gave a mixed review, saying that it “spirals so far from reality that its farfetchedness becomes its own sad commentary on the current state of things,” especially in the immediate wake of a Trump presidency. “As a film pushing for less corruption in politics, it’s far too soapy to feel credible. As a revenge saga about Washington being tamed by the same people it has always been quick to trample, it might just be a little ahead of its time,” he concludes.
The Hollywood Reporter’s Todd McCarthy praises Chastain’s performance, saying that she “crafts a tour de force portrait of a character whose relentless professional dedication and apartness from others makes her something of a sister to Chastain’s similarly obsessed character in ‘Zero Dark Thirty.'” He also commends director John Madden for “[maintaining] a rigorous grip on the narrative and characterizations” and that a TV version of the film would be welcome.
The Guardian’s Nigel M. Smith echoes the praise for Chastain, going so far to say that she “single-handedly prevents it all from veering off the rails by dominating Miss Sloane with her forceful presence.” Smith also says that first-time screenwriter’s Jonathan Perera’s script “grows increasingly ludicrous in its final stretch” and that “what was first a lean thriller morphs into twist-filled jumble.”
Variety’s Peter Debruge describes it as “a talky, tense political thriller, full of verbal sparring and fiery monologues, undone by a really dumb ending,” but concedes that it’s “smart for most of its running time.” He once again praises Chastain, but argues Perera’s script “doesn’t yet feel like he’s found his own voice” and that “he’s clearly channeling other writers’ sparring style.”
Finally, The Wrap’s Alonso Duralde shares similar thoughts regarding Perera’s script. He says that the film “drowns itself with story” and that some third-act developments “feel so incredibly contrived and hard-to-swallow that they might as well have been accompanied with a ‘boi-oi-oing!’ sound effect.”
“Miss Sloane” opens in limited release on November 25 followed by a wide release on December 9 from EuropaCorp.