Magazine December 17, 2020, Issue

What Up Close and Personal Illuminates about Journalism

Michelle Pfeiffer and Robert Redford in Up Close and Personal (Touchstone Pictures)
The Nineties film points toward a troubling lack of ethics

When the history of the collapse of journalism is written, only one movie on the subject will be worth a damn: Up Close and Personal, from 1996. No other film about modern journalism so openly indulged the vanity and bias of the industry — and especially of TV journalism, which today puts up a front of sensitivity and righteousness, i.e., wokeness. Up Close and Personal isn’t even a particularly good movie, but it’s more revealing than most other films about the degradation of what used to be called “the press.” It uses journalism as the pretext for a love story

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This article appears as “Up Close and Narcissistic” in the December 17, 2020, print edition of National Review.

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Armond White, a culture critic, writes about movies for National Review and is the author of New Position: The Prince Chronicles. His new book, Make Spielberg Great Again: The Steven Spielberg Chronicles, is available at Amazon.

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