Does 'Morning Glory' Get Journalism Right?

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Paramount Pictures


Morning Glory—a new movie starring Rachel McAdams and Harrison Ford—tells the story of a young television producer trying save a failing morning news show while also maintaining a relationship with her boyfriend. Does it succeed in portraying the struggles female journalists face? We asked three young female journalists for their takes on the movie:

Frances Symes (reporter, Congressional Quarterly): The real "romance" in this brilliantly cast "romantic comedy" is not actually between the protagonist—morning broadcast producer Becky Fuller (McAdams)—and fellow network staffer and love interest Adam Bennett (the devastating handsome Patrick Wilson). Instead, the movie's crucial relationship is between Becky and serious journalist-turned-begrudging-morning news anchor Mike Pomeroy (Ford).

To some, the relationship between Mike and Becky might seem creepy. Mike even tells Becky at one point that she seems to have a "daddy complex." But I found their relationship (except for some highly unprofessional outbursts on Becky's part) reflective of real-life relationships between accomplished and sometimes-chauvinistic men of a certain age and their ambitious, bright and sometimes-bold young female coworkers.

Becky's romance with Adam, on the other hand, wobbles between the realistic and the unconvincing. Besides strong physical attraction, it is difficult to tell exactly what keeps the two together. He's cute, she's crazy, so it must be a match made in movie heaven?

It doesn't really matter, because Becky's energy and attention are focused on Mike, not Adam. Mike is the one she spends her time charming, cajoling, and convincing. And Becky may be just as important to Mike as he is to her. As he tells her in one confusingly sentimental scene, "I had nothing, until you came along."

It is Becky's personal dedication to her work that makes Morning Glory, for all its inconsistency and sometimes cringe-inducing good humor, believable. Mike's warning that Becky "will end up with nothing," is hollow. She does have something, even if it isn't a husband and children and a house in the country. Becky's prize in the end is not true love and a trip down the aisle, but the seemingly transformed Mike, dressed in an apron and cooking eggs in front of the camera. And that fits.

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Paramount Pictures

Nicole Allan (research and staff editor, The Atlantic): Rachel McAdams can get pretty much anyone to like anything. I enjoyed myself despite her clichéd Blackberry-fondling and "don't mind me, I ramble when nervous, oh look! I'm doing it again" speech. For me, the incongruous part of the movie was how it appropriated the trite structure of a romantic comedy to tell a story of pure professional ambition.

McAdams' love interest, hunky as Patrick Wilson may be, is overshadowed by Harrison Ford's growling masculine force. McAdams' chemistry with the older actor is strong, but the film couldn't quite figure out how to frame it: broadcast-loving naïf whose idol crushes her idealism? Practical, managerial boss who tames the prickly industry legend? Or girl with daddy issues whose ultimate fulfillment comes in a slightly punitive paternal relationship?

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