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The People vs. Larry Flynt

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If Larry Flynt is half as compelling as this movie makes him out to be, then he is a fascinating person.  I knew of his position as the head honcho of Hustler, and also that he had stood for many examples of free speech, but I had no idea that, personally, he was such a bona fide crazy visionary.

Woody Harrelson acts out a very compelling character, from Flynt's conversion from atheism to revivalist christian and back again, to his constant wars with various courts, and to his complex relationship with Courtney Love's character, his wife.  You can't help but feel Flynt is an asshole.  You also can't help but think that he's right most of the time.  He's arrogant, brash, and capricious, but he's also driven, visionary, and charming.  That makes for one heck of a biopic.

Interestingly, the most sympathetic character in the movie is Flynt's lawyer, Alan Isaacman, played by a very young Edward Norton in one of his earliest roles.  Isaacman goes through all the ups and downs with Flynt, but brings a much more levelheaded apprach to things.  Flynt is a compelling character, true, but he's just too far out for us to sympathize with, so we are given the lawyer instead.  In some ways, Isaacman is the Greek chorus of the film, calling out Flynt for his antics in the film, warning him when he's taking a poor action, and then summarily ignored as if Flynt simply can't hear him.

Flynt is a man of conviction.  A complicated man of conviction, who has just enough buffoonery to get away with the outlandish.  Even if you hate him at the beginning of the movie, you will love him by the end.

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