What Stephen Glass did at the New Republic did not make headline
news, it did not call for a four-page retraction in the New York
Times like the actions of Jayson Blair, but Glass’ actions nearly
brought down a small but prestigious magazine publication and
showed how vulnerable the public and editors can be to the
deception of corrupted journalists. Glass went well beyond Blair.
He not only elaborated stories and sources, he simply made them up.
He went as far as trying to pull off phony business cards and Web
People outside of the journalism world might ask themselves what
the relevance of Glass’ story is, but the movie “Shattered Glass”
makes it clear. What Glass did didn’t bring down the magazine, it
didn’t make headline news, the journalism world wasn’t brought to
its knees like in the Blair case, but it did quietly show how much
power and responsibility lies behind the keyboard of a journalist,
and how easily that power can be corrupted.
Hayden Christensen portrays Stephen Glass, the young, ambitious
freelance feature writer for the New Republic. Glass is depicted as
a person who is quick to complement his co-workers and is quicker
to say he is sorry to his editors for his mistakes. Well, at least
the mistakes they caught.
In the movie, Glass was the guy everyone liked. He had the
charisma and charm with his female coworkers and entertained his
peers with the wild and exciting stories he was working on and
making up. Glass, behind his big Harry Potter glasses and his
oxford polo shirts and crisp ironed khakis, was well-liked by his
editor Michael Kelly (played by the always dependable Hank Azaria)
and was a tough act to follow when writers were sharing the stories
they were working on.
But behind Glass was lies and deception. During his tenure at
the New Republic, he fabricated dozens of stories, and not only did
he have his co-workers believe the lies, he believed in them
himself. When a reporter (Steve Zahn) starts following Glass, he
finds that even basic facts were all made up in the creative mind
The movie has a fast pace that allows the viewer to understand
the sometimes-complicated nature of journalism and at the same time
view the progression of the journalistic process that tracked down
the truth behind Glass and his lies.
“Shattered Glass” is a great showcase of a marginal story put on
the center stage. This conflict is what drives the action and
suspense of the story line. Glass, in an attempt to cover up his
lies, goes to extreme lengths and creates even bigger lies in the
“Shattered Glass” is a good, fast-paced film that has an
underlying moral message behind the script. The film is not as
dramatic as previous journalism movies such as “All the President’s
Men” and “The Paper,” but it is enough to carry the movie through
its 90 minutes and give the audience a hero in the editor that
challenges Glass, Chuck Lane (Peter Sarsgaard) and an antihero,
Glass, that people can sympathize with.
Directed by Bill y Ray
Select cities Nov. 7