“Long Shot” Delivers Societal Commentary Through Love & Laughs


Courtesy of Roger Ebert

“Long Shot” Delivers Societal Commentary Through Love & Laughs

Chris DiLullo

Once in a while, there’s a movie that sneaks up on you, that appears to be of a certain quality or of a specific tone, yet ultimately becomes something more than that. Whether it be tonally completely different or becomes something entirely beyond simply a film, these are the movies that surprise us the most and show us why going to the theater is such a powerful, profound experience.

On its surface, “Long Shot,” the newest comedy release from Seth Rogan that features the comedian teaming up with Charlize Theron, may appear to be a generic political romantic-comedy, checking all of the expected boxes and merely following the well-treaded path of its predecessors. However, the film is exactly the type of surprisingly profound work that reminds me why the cinema is so special.

“Long Shot” follows Fred Flarsky (Rogan), a passionate journalist with a large personality, as he reunites with his childhood babysitter, Charlotte Field (Theron), who just so happens to be the Secretary of State of the United States. After Field hires Flarsky to be one of her speechwriters as she readies to announce her candidacy for the presidency of the United States, the two become closer than anticipated, resulting in an unexpected, secretive relationship full of questions and potential pitfalls.

As such, the film seems fairly generic, Flarsky being the odd, fish-out-of-water character attempting to strike a match in his relationship with someone that is completely out of his league and is supposedly superior to him in every manner. It’s a romantic-comedy cliché, it’s been tried and tested: what makes “Long Shot” special?

At some point in every person’s life, they’ll need an underdog story. Whether it’s a sports team vying for a championship against a team they’re completely overmatched by or someone up against the odds applying for a job, the underdog story is relatable to all. It’s inherently human.

“Long Shot” aims, fires and hits this target with nearly flawless precision. Of course, the obvious underdog story is Flarsky’s effort to develop his relationship with Field. She’s developed to be out of his league and a seemingly flawed match, but as Rogan and Theron show with their electric chemistry on the screen, sometimes the most unlikely situations are the ones we’re best suited for.

However, “Long Shot” is really about Field’s underdog story, yet not in the expected context. While Theron’s character is a woman fighting for the most powerful position in the world, facing sexism and prejudice as a result, the political underdog story is understandably evident in the film’s plot.

Nevertheless, Field’s underdog story is not just political. It’s about facing the pressures and expectations of society, of defying what’s expected of her as a woman, not just at the podium as a politician but as a human being. Field has the courage and strength to shatter the expectations, to do things the way she wants to do them and to ignore what society presumes a woman should do.

As unfortunate and depressing as it is that this reality is an underdog story for women, “Long Shot” represents an important stepping stone for society. Showing a need for change and how women can empower themselves to ensure that this “underdog” story is never labeled as such in the future, that women can simply act as they choose without having to be labeled as “underdogs” or rebels, “Long Shot” becomes an incredibly poignant commentary on our society that is a mouthpiece for an underdog force in our very society: the movement for equality.

So, on a surprisingly warm Monday night in March, when I stepped into the theater to see “Long Shot,” I didn’t expect a Seth Rogan romantic-comedy to strike right to my core as it did. Nevertheless, at some point in everyone’s life, they need an underdog story, and “Long Shot” was the one I needed.

However, this is an underdog story for more than just me. “Long Shot” may have been the one I needed, but the film is set to touch many lives beyond lives. “Long Shot” is destined to motivate and encourage people across the world, and to do that through a film that operates under the guise of the most popular genre of them all is a pretty special thing to accomplish.