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Film / Miss Sloane

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"I was hired to win."
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Miss Sloane is a 2016 French-American political thriller film directed by John Madden from a script by Jonathan Perera. The film stars Jessica Chastain as Elizabeth "Liz" Sloane, a cutthroat Washington lobbyist who revels in power and is a functioning paranoid. One day she decides to lobby for universal background checks for firearms, for the challenge it represents. The cast also includes Mark Strong, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Michael Stuhlbarg, Alison Pill, Jake Lacy, John Lithgow, and Sam Waterston.

The film had its world premiere on November 11, 2016 at the AFI Fest, and was subsequently picked up for distribution by Luc Besson's EuropaCorp and released in the United States on November 25, 2016 and in France on March 8, 2017.


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Miss Sloane provides examples of:

  • Anti-Hero: Sloane. She does several questionable things throughout the film, but it's clear she does it for "the greater good". Whatever that is.
  • Author Tract: John Madden, the director, has made many statements about gun control in the past, and openly stated in interview that he hoped this film would change some people's minds.
  • Bad Guys Play Pool: Connors plays pool with a congressman before threatening his son's political career. It may also be an Actor Allusion to how Michael Stuhlbarg played pool on Boardwalk Empire.
  • "Blackmail" Is Such an Ugly Word: Schmidt refuses to allow Sloane to use two surveilance experts, as he doesn't want to use blackmail to get the bill passed. It turns out, Sloane doesn't blackmail anyone. She announces the internet address to show footage of Dupont bribing Senator Sperling.
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  • Captain Crash: Sloane doesn't have a driver's license. She confesses to Esme Manucharian that she was terrible during her driving exams and that it was the only exams she ever failed.
  • Characters as Device: It is never established why any sane person would suddenly join the bandwagon of gun control without any backstory, especially to the point of getting emotional in a courtroom. The person who had a legitimate reason to be this upset didn't even do so. We get almost nothing about why Sloane is interested in this besides "it's a challenge." For that matter, the scene where everyone who has been a loyal worker in a lobbying company suddenly defects and joins her company except for Jane who only does so, not for legitimate reasons but to become a Fake Defector. In other words, almost all of the characters act not because of known motivations but because plot demands it.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The eavesdropping experts who work for Sloane.
  • The Chessmaster: Sloane reveals herself to be one, with the finale implying that she even instigated the hearings, and her own imprisonment, to get the bill through Congress.
  • Covert Pervert: Sloane. She has sex quite a bit, and people seem surprised to hear that.
  • Cryptic Background Reference: Sloane gives a few to Ford: only her mother calls her by her first name and she's been "lying her whole life".
  • Engineered Public Confession: Sloane's eavesdropping experts recorded and filmed the private meeting between Senator Sterling and Dupont. Sloane reveals where to find the video on the Internet during her hearing.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Schmidt says "Find another way" when Big Sam and Little Sam show off their fancy surveillance equipment. They still use the equipment, but not to blackmail anyone.
  • Family Versus Career: Sloane never wanted to have a family and chose to focus 100 per cent on her career.
  • Hauled Before A Senate Subcommittee: Sloane ends up on a hearing.
  • Hidden Depths: Schmidt is able to follow Sloane, who is careful about being followed, to her meeting with surveillance experts Big Sam and Little Sam. She doesn't know until he's outside their door.
  • High-Class Call Girl: Gender Flip. Liz hires the "services" of male prostitutes, both to get sex and to have brief fantasies of a housewife life she always avoided.
  • Married to the Job: Sloane dedicated her whole life to her job and never sought to get married. It took a toll somewhat, as she hires male prostitutes to have sex and feed her fantasies of another lifestyle.
  • Mirthless Laughter: When Sloane finds out the gun lobby wants to hire her to sell guns to women.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: The female Massachusetts senator who berates Sloane for her lack of contributions to feminism is quite clearly based on real-life Massachusetts senator and noted progressive Elizabeth Warren.
  • Only in It for the Money: Averted. For the most part, Sloane is more interested in the challenge. Also, at the end we learn she was working for free the whole time.
  • The Reveal: It turns out Sloane isn't the only person involved in political corruption speaking in the courtroom.
    • Also, the piece of paper Schmidt gave Sloane reveals she was working for free the whole time.
    • Finally, Jane's been a Fake Defector; she's been working for Sloane the entire time.
  • Screw the Money, I Have Rules!: Sloane picks her cases so she can sleep at night.
  • Shout-Out:
    • When Sloane quits her job and asks other people to come with her, Connors asks "What is this, Jerry Maguire?"
    • When it seems Senator Sperling tricked Sloane into not invoking the Fifth Amendment, her lawyer Daniel says "The smartest operative on the Hill just got played by Grandpa Simpson."
  • Stock Legal Phrases: Plenty used in the courtroom scenes:
    • Sloane repeatedly pleads the Fifth to Sperling's questions until she reveals Sperling's shadiness.
    • And of course, the phrase "Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?" is directed at most of the witnesses. Most of them don't comply.
  • Taking You with Me: Sloane ultimately goes to prison, but not before revealing the bribery of Senator Sperling by Dupont, ruining the career of both.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Daniel Posner, Sloane's lawyer for the hearings, gives her this after it looks like she's thrown out her right to keep quiet.
    Daniel Posner: No, I don't care about you any further than I can throw you. I work for the one ethical lobbying practice on the Hill and I wind up defending the... the poster child for the most morally bankrupt profession since faith-healing.
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee: The entire movie is one big instance of this trope. Only at the end is it revealed to both the audience and most of the characters that the entire plot, and possibly Sloane's entire career and life, were carefully planned to expose the corruption of the American political system.

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