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Film / Jack (2013)

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Jack is a 2013 CBC movie is about Canadian politician Jack Layton, following both his political career and his personal life from the time he was a Toronto city councilor, through his time as a Member of Parliament, up until his death.

Not to be confused with the other Jack. (Although the CBC itself has done that.)

Tropes associated with this work include:

  • Absent-Minded Professor: Jack applies on a literal level; he was a political science professor, and he is portrayed in the movie as being somewhat absent minded. (Forgetting he was supposed to be at a particular fundraiser until after 10 minutes into it, for example.)
  • Bittersweet Ending: The NDP makes it to 2nd place among Canadian federal political parties in 2011, making former "stuck in 3rd place" party leader Jack Layton the Opposition Leader, but not the Prime Minister. He dies a few months later. This is all accurate to real life, and all shown in the movie.
  • Crowd Song: Reconstructed; rather than the choreographed-looking crowd songs often associated with movies, this movie uses a more plausible kind where groups of people (in this case, Jack's campaign team) sing on a bus, whether it's singing Parachute Club's "Rise Up" earlier on, or a politics-themed parodical version of Home On The Range later on. Both are shown only as parts of songs.
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  • Determinator: Jack already had a reputation for valuing perseverance even before this movie came out, but this movie emphasizes it perhaps even more so than it's usually emphasized.
    Karl Bélanger: Tell me we're not going to ask him to fight this election on crutches!
    Anne McGrath: Try and stop him.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: While it wasn't entirely happy, Jack making it as far as he did in politics before dying is still fairly cathartic, partly because it proved wrong so many of those who doubted him.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Those who follow Canadian Politics more closely can anticipate more of this movie's story.
  • In Medias Res: The movie starts with Jack Layton in his old age at close to the time of the 2011 election, (with the 80s song "Rise Up" by the Parachute Club playing in the background) then alternates between the 2011 election campaign and various moments from Jack's past.
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  • Insult Backfire: As suggested by one of Jack's campaign staffers:
    - They've been trying to cast us as outsiders. Why not run with it?
  • It Will Never Catch On: In municipal and federal politics alike, a lot of people severely underestimated how much of an impact Jack or his ideas could make.
  • Large Ham: Jack Layton himself. Discussed; Olivia mentions in the movie that Jack is a ham. Truth in Television, since in real life his time as NDP leader was marked by a relatively hammier debating style than that associated with the leaders of the more mainstream political parties.
  • My Beloved Smother: Olivia is portrayed early in the movie as living with her mother out of tradition; said mother is portrayed as being very picky about who her daughter should date, and very critical of Jack.
    Jack: Ten years in civic politics, and I'm not afraid of your mother.
    Olivia: You should be.
  • Protagonist Title
  • Retirony: Jack never got to spend much time as opposition leader, nor officially declare his political career finished before stepping down from his position as opposition leader before dying.
  • Worthy Opponent: It took a while, but eventually even Jack's political opponents came to admire his courage and perseverance.