In 1971, Clifford Irving (Richard Gere) was a frustrated author, constantly being given the runaround by publishers. After McGraw-Hill gave him the green light for his latest work, then reneged on the deal, it seems that Irving completely slipped. The only way he can get a meeting with executive Andrea (Hope Davis) is to claim that he has a great idea for a new book. Along with his friend and fellow author Richard Suskind (Alfred Molina), they start pulling every idea they can think of out of thin air.
Infamous billionaire Howard Hughes was known for his eccentric and reclusive behavior. However, the public was (and still is today) fascinated not only with his behavior, but with the outrageous amount of money that he had. Since he was a hot commodity, Irving thought he struck gold.
The big hoax was that he managed to convince the publishing company and the world that he was regularly communicating with Hughes in writing his autobiography. A total con game. Since Hughes was a virtual hermit, he thought that he wouldn’t have anyone catching on to his scheme. Irving also had a great deal of personal issues to deal with in addition to this charade: He was still mending his strained relationship to his wife, Edith (Marcia Gay Harden), while still debating on whether he should re-dabble in an affair with a young socialite. Eventually, greed for money, recognition, and fame took over his life.
I was actually pleasantly surprised by this film. I was expecting a really long, drawn out storyline focusing on the case, but this discussed quite a bit on Clifford’s warped sense of thinking. Whenever he wasn’t gathering information to fabricate notes and audio recordings of his “sessions” with Hughes, he was manipulating Edith and Suskind, and the system in general. In his own mind, not only was he justifying the fraud to others, but he was convincing himself of the legitimacy of it. He truly believed in his work!
The movie closes with the outcome of all of the events, culminating in not only personal, but political scandal. The performances were powerful enough that you really could connect with the individual and empathize with their internal struggles. This is worth the price of a movie ticket!
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