Movie of the Day – Thank You For Smoking

You know, those Truth commercials about smoking are really annoying.  I can’t stand watching when those commercials come on TV because of the hammering of the message that they convey.  Yes smoking is bad for you.  Yes big tobacco might be evil and don’t care about their customers.  I think the most honest representation about the Tobacco Industry comes from “Thank You For Smoking” which is a satirical look at smoking lobbyists and big tobacco.  I have a rather biased opinion of the movie since I read the Christopher Buckley book, which the movie is based on.  This isn’t a biting look at the lobbyists and the state of big tobacco, but presents the reader and viewer of the movie with two sides of the coin.

The story of “Thank You For Smoking” follows the daily agenda of the Big Tobacco’s top lobbyist, Nick Naylor, who is played superbly by Aaron Eckhart.  Nick is the best in his field and that is the art of spin.  Nick Naylor must be at the beck and call of his tobacco employer to do their dirty work, while trying to be an upstanding role model for his son.  He not only has to spin the truth, but he must present a different view of world to his son.  Nick Naylor has to handle the tenacious efforts of a politician, played by William H Macy, who wants to shut down big tobacco.  So with attempts on Naylor’s life, juggling his career and handling spin, Naylor comes to a cross road in his life.

The movie has a great and engaging story.  In some aspects, you kind of realize that you are rooting for a tobacco lobbyist.  The funny thing is that Eckhart is so charismatic as Naylor, you are swayed to like him.  He makes a great case for us trusting him.  He does what he does because that is what he is good at.  That is his life and we as an audience have to embrace that aspect.  We view Naylor as a family and watching him do the right thing, whether that is helping big tobacco or proving a point to his son.  Even the cast of side characters are all engaging, with Maria Bello and David Koechner playing lobbyists for Gun and Alcohol.

The film doesn’t really toe the line as being for or against smoking.  It has a strong lean towards the anti-smoking message but at the heart of the movie, the story is about choice.  People who smoke choose to smoke.  No amount of info or warning will deter the person who wants to smoke.  Now this choice to smoke could be taken as an addiction.  Yes smoking is addictive, but the original choice to smoke was there and Big Tobacco was there to fill a need or choice.

What I find interesting about the movie is that there are no characters shown on screen smoking cigarettes.  In fact there are only two scenes that show characters indirectly smoking, one being an old John Wayne movie and the other is a fade out of Nick Naylor about to smoke a cigarette.  Each scene of indirect smoking emphasizes a negative consequence for smoking.  The John Wayne movie shows a character getting shot after he smokes and Nick Naylor passes out after he smokes, these scenes push it towards the anti-smoking section.  The movie itself is a satire of the politics that surround smoking and lobbyists.  The director Ivan Reitman does a great job  at blending the satire and comedy with the message of personal choice.  We as a public know the dangers of smoking.  We have had that information hammered into our heads, but what we do with that information is our choice.

If you haven’t seen the movie, then you are missing out on a solid story and a very good comedy movie.  Aaron Eckhart is mesmerizing as the lead and you become passionate about him blurring the line between right and wrong.

About Nick
I am just another blogger putting his thoughts into a website. My love is movies so most of my musings will be movie related. I work as an online marketer for an advertising company and when I am not earning a paycheck, I moonlight as a vigilante film blogger.

One Response to Movie of the Day – Thank You For Smoking

  1. Pingback: So It Begins – Thank You For Smoking « Another Plot Device

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