|YMMV • Radar • Quotes • (Funny • Heartwarming • Awesome) • Fridge • Characters • Fanfic Recs • Nightmare Fuel • Shout Out • Plot • Tear Jerker • Headscratchers • Trivia • WMG • Recap • Ho Yay • Image Links • Memes • Haiku • Laconic|
2003 film about the rise and fall of Stephen Glass, a writer at The New Republic magazine who spent years making up ficticious stories for the magazine before he was finally exposed. Hayden Christensen stars as Glass, proving that despite prior indications he can act, and Peter Saarsgard stars as Glass's last editor, Charles Lane.
- Benevolent Boss: Michael Kelly, Glass's first editor. This throws off the audience's expectations when Glass clashes with his second boss, Hero Antagonist Chuck Lane.
- Blunt Yes
Caitlin: Is that what you want, Amy? To have smoke blown up your ass by a bunch of editors?
Amy: Yes, yes it is.
- Book Ends: The scene with Glass at the Monica Lewinsky memorabilia convention.
- Composite Character: Glass's editors Lane and Michael Kelly were real people (as is Martin Peretz, a smaller part in the film) but his fellow journalists at The New Republic are all composites.
- Consummate Liar: Glass's web of fraud is quite intricate and plausible, and he goes to the extent of faking business cards, websites and email addresses to cover up his frauds. Curiously, however, when he's actually challenged in person when someone pulls the thread on one of his stories, he actually becomes something of a Bad Liar. His thread, while intricate and long, also collapses entirely when someone scratches the surface enough times.
- Daydream Surprise: Throughout the movie, we see snippets of the various stories Glass has researched and submitted, such as the Monica Lewinsky convention, the Young Republican Wacky Fratboy Hijinx Party and, of course, Hack Heaven. All of which, as we learn the extent of his fakery, are heavily implied to be just his imagination. The high school class Glass addresses as a Framing Device turns out to be one of these, as it's revealed that he's just daydreaming while in a meeting to determine precisely the extent of his fraud.
- Enforced Method Acting: When the Young Republicans harass and chase a woman down a hallway, the horrified look on the actress's face is made more real because the director instructed the actors to glare at her silently before filming and not respond to her attempts at conversation.
- Eureka Moment: An offhand comment causes Lane to realize the truth about "George Sims," the alleged president of Jukt Micronics who called Lane from Palo Alto to complain about Glass's story. Glass's brother lives in Palo Alto. Once Lane finds out, he realizes that Glass wasn't just duped by hoaxsters, he was lying about every single thing in the story and even enlisting his brother in the cover-up.
- Framing Device: Glass tells his story to a journalism class that turns out to be a figment of his imagination.
- Hero Antagonist: Charles Lane.
- Hero with Bad Publicity / Villain with Good Publicity: Glass is well-liked, self-effacing and charming, making it easy for people get get on his side against Lane, who is more distant and formal, and viewed as more of a distrusted interloper after he got the job previous held by a popular editor. Deconstructing this is essentially the crux of Lane's angry rant to Caitlin after he's fired Glass and she confronts him about it, saying that while everyone might hate him they all allowed Glass to drag the magazine's name through the mud purely because they liked him.
- Imagine Spot: Glass telling his story to a journalism class.
- Intrepid Reporter: Adam Penenberg. Stephen Glass would very much like to be thought of as one of these, but he very much isn't.
- Irony: Many of the reporters at the New Republic express a strongly-held (and slightly snobby) opposition to the idea of including photos in the magazine, citing their integrity as a news magazine over those publications which do provide them. At the end, however, a secretary bitterly notes that what Glass did would be a lot harder if he'd had to include photographs of the people involved in his stories; not providing photos has ended up damaging the magazine's integrity far more.
- Lame Excuse: Played seriously; Glass starts coming out with these when his lies begin to be exposed.
- Lecture as Exposition: The scenes where Glass is talking to the classroom help movie viewers understand how fact-checking works and how Glass got away with his fabrications.
- Manipulative Bastard: Very subtly; Glass tends to use his 'aw-shucks' humble act to make people feel sorry for him.
"Are you mad at me?"
- Match Cut: From Glass's face in the classroom to Glass's face at his last meeting with Chuck Lane.
- Off the Record
- Oh Crap: Glass when he realizes he gave a fake phone number with the wrong area code. And again when he learns that the building where the hacker conference purportedly took place was closed that day.
- Playing Against Type: As Penenberg, the Intrepid Reporter who exposes Glass...Steve Zahn?
- Playing Gertrude: Hayden Christensen playing 26 year-old Stephen Glass. He was 22 when the film came out and 17 when the New Republic scandal broke in 1998.
- Precision F-Strike: "You work for the fuckin' New Republic", says one admirer of Glass's at a party.
- "Do you have any idea how much shit we're going to have to eat?". Director Billy Ray rationed the use of bad words in his film so he could keep this line and still get a PG rating.
- Pull the Thread: Glass's increasingly desperate efforts to protect himself almost make you feel sorry for him.
- Reality Is Unrealistic: During the original screening, test audiences didn't believe that the New Republic journalists in the film could be in their twenties. Hence, is a placecard was added in the beginning of the film indicating that the average age was 26, which was how old the real Stephan Glass was when the scandal broke out in 1998.
- Smug Snake: Glass initially comes off as a humble, self-effacing person, but the longer he keeps it up the more we begin to see what a slimy, phony weasel he actually is. Note how subtly smug he is when his co-workers find themselves unable to compete with his exciting and quirky (and entirely fabricated) story pitches when presenting their comparatively duller (but real) ones.
- Truth in Television: His TNR coworkers might be composites but Glass's career and his fall are both rendered fairly accurately.
- Unreliable Narrator: Glass's opening narration isn't exactly accurate.
- Villain Protagonist: Glass, obviously.
- World of Cardboard Speech: Lane to Caitlin Avey towards the end when she is still sticking up for Glass.
- Wounded Gazelle Gambit: A variant; when his increasingly tenuous web of lies begins to unravel, Glass' response is basically to start whining and playing the victim.
Glass: I didn't do anything wrong, Chuck!
Lane: I really wish you'd stop saying that!