THANK YOU FOR SMOKING (9/9/2005)
Director: Jason Reitman
Cast: Aaron Eckhart, William H. Macy, Katie Holmes
My Rating: 9/10
Rotten Tomatometer: 86% Certified Fresh
PLOT: Nick Naylor (Eckhart), Big Tobacco’s chief spokesman, spins the facts on behalf of cigarettes while trying to remain a role model for his twelve-year-old son.
I’ll keep this one brief.
There is a LOT to unpack in this movie: satirical effectiveness, logical arguments, debate about an intensely divisive topic. And no, I’m not talking about race, I’m talking about cigarettes.
I tried to unpack it myself, but my first review got up to 10 or 11 paragraphs, and when I started getting confused by my own mumbo-jumbo, I decided to pack it in.
I’ll just say that this is one of the funniest, sharpest satires I’ve ever seen. It makes a good guy out of the chief spin doctor for an industry that kills, quote, “two jumbo jet plane loads of men, women and children” a DAY. (That’s from the film, not actual research, so take it with a grain of salt.) It demonstrates how the art of deflection during an argument can be perfected to prove virtually anything. It’s a commentary on both the pro- and anti-smoking movements, and how they’re both right, and they’re both wrong. (That’s right. I said it.) It advocates choice over blind obedience.
And it’s funny, funny, funny. Another one of those movies designed to be discussed afterwards in conversations that could NEVER be contained within the words of any movie review I could write. Just take my word for it. You won’t regret it.
(For a much more detailed review of this film, I’d check Roger Ebert’s website.)