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An impressively compelling film
FilmOtaku20 September 2004
The public-at-large loves a good scandal, and in 1998, the scandal involving Stephen Glass was a pretty darn good one. It turned out that Glass, a young prodigy who was writing for several magazines, but primarily for the prestigious 'New Republic' ('the in-flight magazine of Air Force One') had fabricated some or all of 21 of his 41 well-received stories; a scandal that rocked the journalism world and was picked up by the general public and was later repeated with Jayson Blair.

'Shattered Glass', co-written and directed by Billy Ray examines this true-life story, with Hayden Christensen playing Glass and Peter Sarsgaard as his editor, Chuck Lane. I have never seen Christensen's work in anything else until this point, and I was impressed by his acting chops. He was able to handily express Glass's desperate need for acceptance and his compulsive and repulsively cunning nature so well that the viewer, when faced with the dilemma of how to feel about this man, can only watch numbly as the train wreck that becomes his life careens further out of control. Sarsgaard, as usual, is fantastic as the fair and decent-minded Lane, the editor who first tries to help and protect Glass, but then, after digging deeper, finds that there is a lot more to the man than sloppy journalism.

It is actually surprising to me that 'Shattered Glass' became a film. I remember reading a Vanity Fair piece on Glass back when the scandal broke, and that, and the myriad other articles seemed to be sufficient exposure. The fact that 'Shattered Glass' was released five years after the scandal settled down, and that it is a compelling screenplay and film is a testimony to Ray's (a first time director) talent. 'Shattered Glass' is gut-wrenching in that it is difficult to watch because the viewer knows how deep Glass digs himself, and it's not necessarily fun to watch. 'Shattered Glass' is an intelligent, well-done film and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who appreciates that a film doesn't have to be showy in order to make an impact.

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a mesmerizing morality play
Buddy-5130 October 2004
One of the unsung and unheralded movie treasures of 2003, 'Shattered Glass' tells the fascinating story of Stephen Glass, one of the top reporters for The New Republic in the 1990's, who rocked the media world when he had to finally confess that he had fabricated many of his stories. 'Shattered Glass' plays like a modern Greek tragedy, centered on a man of great talent and potential brought down by his own internal weaknesses. Glass was only 24 when he fell from grace; prior to that, he was a hot shot reporter who, in the highly competitive world of high stakes journalism, kept looking for that little added edge to make his stories saleable. For a number of years, Glass managed to slip those stories past his editors and fact-checkers without being discovered. However, in the spring of 1998, his world came crashing down around him after an internet magazine became suspicious of a story he had written about a computer hacker who, it turns out, never actually existed.

'Shattered Glass,' which is based on an article by Buzz Bissinger, succeeds as both a complex character study and a top notch thriller. The film never gives us any easy answers as to just why Glass put his journalistic integrity and career on the line by perpetrating these frauds. As portrayed in the film, Glass is a paradoxical mixture of both arrogance and insecurity, a smooth manipulator who can charm and sweet talk his way into getting people to like and trust him while at the same time employing those same skills to get himself out of tough situations. Eventually, however, the act runs out of steam and he is exposed for who and what he really is. Yet, who, indeed, is he? Is Glass simply a pathological liar? Is he a stressed-out, overworked 'kid' trying desperately to keep his head above water in the cutthroat world of professional journalism? Is he merely a smooth-talking, unethical charmer who knows what he wants and will stop at nothing to get it? Could it be that he is some or all of these things at the same time? The fact that the film never fully answers these questions is what pulls us so deeply into the drama. Moreover, Hayden Christensen gives a superb performance as Glass, making the character both smarmy and vulnerable, repellant and sympathetic all at the same time. In addition to Christensen, the film is filled with brilliant, subtle performances by Peter Sarsgaard, Chloe Sevigny, Hank Azaria and many others.

Superbly written and directed by Billy Ray, 'Shattered Glass' is one of the most suspenseful films of recent times, far more gripping than most so-called thrillers because the film is dealing with real-world issues of integrity and ethics. We watch with morbid fascination the slow unraveling of a man's 'crime' and character, as Glass becomes more and more ensnared in a web of his own making. The step-by-step process by which a promising young man's true nature is uncovered, then his reputation destroyed, becomes the stuff of classic tragedy.

Although The New Republic eventually recovered from this debacle, the filmmakers do not let the magazine off the hook quite so easily. The thing we are most struck by is how incredibly young the reporters at the magazine were at the time (we are told their average age was 26!). How such unseasoned writers came to play so prominent a part in so major and venerable a publication is indeed one of the great mysteries of the story - and one of the sharpest indictments leveled against the magazine by the makers of the film.

'Shattered Glass' is an ineffably sad film, one that makes us mourn the loss of a promising, talented individual who sowed the seeds of his own destruction (he is currently a lawyer). Yet it also inspires and uplifts us by reminding us that men of integrity will almost always triumph over men of little or no integrity in the long run. That's a truism worth remembering in this time of great moral confusion in which we find ourselves living. 'Shattered Glass' is not to be missed.
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Quite believable, says this former investigative journalist
isenberg-e31 May 2005
As the subject line above says, I have to admit to an insider's point of view. I was an award-winning investigative reporter and editor working in newspapers, magazines, wire services, radio, and network-affiliate TV. I quit journalism in 1980 in large part because of the ever-increasing number of talent-challenged first-year "journalists" who wanted to be the next Woodward/Bernstein, and worse, the willingness of management (especially in local television news) to hire and even promote them. To be honest, however, I would have to add that the low pay, true even at places like The New Republic, was a major factor to an expectant father.

So I am sad to say that I completely buy the characterizations presented in this docudrama on Stephen Glass' time at that august magazine. The only thing that didn't ring true was that I never met anyone who had the time or inclination to be as considerate of his fellow journalists as Steve Glass apparently was. My wife pointed out that she never met one journalistic co-worker she would spend time with if she had the choice. I would admit that the nicest I knew were, at best, benign. I should add that I was NOT the nicest I knew. Even I didn't like me those days.

Getting back to the film, I can't speak to what actually motivated this particular person to fabricate 27 of 41 stories at a very major national magazine. The film suggests that he was too eager to please, and perhaps that is true. But that probably wasn't what motivated Jayson Blair (at the New York Times) or others who have recently been exposed as serial fabricators. Ambition unrestrained by ethics, unreasonable pressure to succeed due to premature promotions, other unknown and perhaps unknowable motivations... they probably figure into these sorts of disasters. But what is certainly true, and given very short shrift by the film, is the role journalistic management plays. To put a rather fine point to it, too many editors do not know how to, or perhaps just don't like to, do their jobs.

Too many times I see on national news programs statements treated as fact that somehow I can't believe were ever fact-checked. Just today I saw an episode of HBO's RealSports where an amazing statistic was mentioned: that a certain percentage (I believe about 4% but wasn't taking notes) of people who start playing poker as young kids go on to have gambling problems. I instantly asked myself: where did those statistics come from? Poker playing among the very young (pre-college-age) was probably a fairly rare thing before the past couple of years. How would they know today that 15 years ago such-and-such a percent would later have problems? If you understand statistics you would know that you can't find gambling addicts now, ask how many played poker as young kids, and extrapolate any useful estimate of future danger (100% of alcoholics once drank socially, but that doesn't mean 100% of social drinkers go on to become alcoholics). So did some editor at RealSports check this out? Why don't I believe someone did?

In writing this six-paragraph movie review, perhaps to be seen by no one, I checked things over time and again for accuracy. Oops: I misspelled Jayson Blair; fix it. Spelling errors no one cares about in this Internet-only story: check the entire piece in an external spell checker. In all I made almost two dozen changes. No one reading this will notice, or if they do, care. But that is what I do because I once was an editor.

It is this instinct for distrust of EVERYTHING anyone says or writes, including oneself and one's own work, that I believe is missing in far too many editors today. It is this shortcoming that allowed Stephen Glass, Jayson Blair et al to last so long before being exposed. It is a major weakness in journalism, and the lack of acknowledgement of this weakness is the only fault I found in this otherwise excellent film.
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A suspenseful, thrilling movie
ttugreeklady19 December 2003
As the film opens we meet Stephen Glass, a rising star at "The New Republic" magazine. He's sensitive, friendly and unfailingly polite. And, oh yeah, did I mention he was on everybody's hot list? He was being wooed by everyone from "George Magazine" to "Harper's" to the "New York Times." Unfortunately, behind the Glass juggernaut was a compulsive liar who took everyone for a downhill ride. You see, Glass fabricated over 20 stories, inventing sources, locations, times, dates, and companies.

Hayden Christensen was fabulous as the ingratiating/creepy Glass. As a reviewer pointed out, this movie proves he can act.

Christensen's Glass is the ultimate likeable co-worker, who remembers everyone's birthday, knows how everyone takes their coffee and is so self-deprecatingly sweet that when things start unraveling you feel sorry for him. Despite his audacious lies and deceits, you like him and wonder why everyone is being so mean. Christensen walks the fine line between good and evil so well, you watch in amazement. You feel sorry for him, you're repulsed by him, you're embarrassed for him...

At times I turned to my friend and said "Man! Is this hard to watch." And it was.

Peter Sarsgaard, who plays Glass' editor, Chuck Lane, is wonderfully understated as the misunderstood editor. (For those at home who care, he's also really cute in that nerdy handsome way.)

The movie incisively exposes the world of journalism -- with it's big egos, pedantic copy editors, and ultra-competitive writers. I could see many of my co-workers (current and former) in the archetypes portrayed on screen (the braggart, the attention getter, the know-it-all, the guy who will split the most microscopic of hairs just for the heck of it).

It also brings home the incredible responsibility on the shoulders of journalists. It's easy to forget this responsibility in pursuit of personal glory or attention, but it's the reader who gets hurt. Everyone in the business of journalism should see this movie. But with its twists and turns and shocking (yet true!) events, it's a movie for anyone who enjoys a good thriller.
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Naked pictures of women??
=G=25 March 2004
Warning: Spoilers
"Shattered Glass" tells the true story of Stephen Glass, a young upstart hotshot investigative journalist who wrote fiction or partial fiction and represented it as fact in the esteemed New Republic magazine and other publications. The film is a smartly pitched hardcore no frills drama which recounts events leading up to the explosive 1998 scandal created when the magazine went public by exposing itself as the unwitting purveyor of countless fraudulent articles. Most of the film is set in the offices of TNR magazine and the film is devoid of the usual Hollywood action, violence, sex, thrills, exotic locations, megastars, etc. However, for those into tales of ethics, journalism, and/or aberrant personalities, "Shattered Glass" may well be a spellbinder. Good stuff with plenty of critical plaudits for drama enthusiasts and those interested in investigative journalism. (B)
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Liar, liar
jotix1009 November 2003
This is, without a doubt, one of the best films of the current season. It is a movie that makes one think about our values, and above all, how low will some people go to get their 15 minutes worth of fame by lying, cheating and taking down the same institutions they are trying to break into.

The idea of this picture is based on actual facts, so there is nothing fabricated in it, as we are presented an ambitious man working his way up the editorial ladder. Stephen Glass, is such a person. This is a very intelligent individual who goes to extremes to write fiction and make the reader believe that what he is reading is fact. Heaven help us from the Stephen Glasses of the world.

Stephen Glass was the perfect person to be hired by the New Republic, a magazine for the elite. It is a magazine that prides itself in only running text and no pictures. Well, it would have helped the publication to have demanded photographic proof from Mr. Glass, as the receptionist clearly points out at the end.

The cast assembled by director Billy Ray for this film is flawless. The work of Hayden Christensen as Stephen Glass, and Peter Sarsgaard as Jack Lane are brilliant. This was an inspired choice as both bring to the film the right tone, complementing one another. These actors will go far, no doubt.

The ensemble cast is also very effective. Chloe Sevigny, Rosario Dawson, Hank Azaria and Steve Zahn make you believe they are the people they are supposedly playing, which, in itself, is no small accomplishment.
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Good Movie
Trism1722 December 2004
Very enjoyable film, with good acting and great direction. Captivating story of a true pathological liar, with no regard for anyone in his path.

Steven Glass is represented as a writer who is intent upon gaining money, fame, friends, or any combination thereof through deceipt in his work. His transformation from 'likeable kid' to 'loser' is astounding, in that he never really transforms.

The best part of the film is how your feelings towards Glass will change 180 degrees from the start, despite the film never altering his personality one bit along the way. The viewer is merely presented the story, while the most drama will come from your own emotional reaction to what you are discovering.
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When "Glass" shatters...
dee.reid10 October 2004
...Justice will be done. As an aspiring writer, one of the biggest problems for me (as with all authors, I'm sure) is setting up a believable story with realistic characters and motivations, but the trick is being able to do so within the more realistic realm of fiction.

With that in mind, then think about this for a moment: A story about a 15 year-old computer hacker who brings a major software company to its knees would make for great entertainment at office meetings or parties. It has a realistic setting and a believable plot, with a kid who hacks into a company's database, and offers his services in preventing others from doing so, but first wants "X-Men" #1, a new car, and subscriptions to Playboy and Penthouse. This kid is then hailed as a hero within the hacker community, and he gets to sit back and revel in his newfound fame.

Stephen Glass (Hayden Christensen) had this story nailed down pat - characters and everything, but his problem was that he was not a fiction author, he was the premiere writer for an important technological magazine and nearly ran it into ground when it was discovered that he had fabricated more than half of his articles.

Make no mistake though, "Shattered Glass," which details Stephen Glass' devastating fall from grace when his deception is unearthed by the staffers of a rival magazine, is not at all a pleasant experience. I sometimes had to remember that this was based on a true story, and that a man lied to earn his fame.

I have to admit that by the time the credits began to roll, I was almost on the verge of tears, because I was so saddened and angry - saddened because Glass was on the surface, basically a good and well-liked person. I was angry because this well-liked man was also a fraud, and he deservedly got caught when he became trapped by his own elaborate deceptions.

The final 20 minutes are the most achingly difficult moments to sit through, as Glass' plans come apart at the seams, and we the audience are given front-row seats to his destruction. And we watch as Charles "Chuck" Lane (Peter Sarsgaard) sits back and (unsympathetically) bears witness to all of it. He is totally unflinching to Glass' pleas to drive him somewhere before he does something terrible to himself, like suicide.

It would also help to imagine yourself in Lane's position as an editor, to finally hear that you have been deceived by a kid, a bright kid nonetheless, and then find yourself faced with the difficult task of cleaning up the devastation. You then have to print a formal apology in the next issue of your magazine saying to your readers that they've been lied to.

An effective, powerful film - "Shattered Glass" - and I'm not sure that I could ever sit through it again.

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A great case study of a successful antisocial personality
MartinHafer2 July 2007
Warning: Spoilers
I teach psychology and after seeing this film, I intend to use the film in my curriculum. Why? Well, because part of my class includes discussing personality disorders and often I show a film or TV show that clearly illustrates the popular notion of the "antisocial personality"--an individual with no conscience and who takes pleasure preying on others for his own gain. However, I really loved this movie because it illustrates a far more subtle type of antisocial--one who is not in prison or living life on the fringes due to his evil behaviors but is successful--wildly successful (at least, for a while).

The film is about Steven Glass--an actual ex-journalist with "The New Rebulic" and other publications. For some time, his career was rather meteoric--young, super-successful and well-respected. However, after years of success, it slowly became apparent that his "journalism" was actually a myth, as his sources were mostly fictitious. And, characteristic of an antisocial, he stood firm in insisting he was not a fraud and only slowly admitted "making mistakes" when he had no choice but admit the truth. Even afterwords, on 60 MINUTES, he often avoided taking responsibility for his actions and blamed it on practically everything but sun spots!

What I loved in particular about the film was how it sucked in the viewer and made you care. I think a lot of this was because instead of some actor who appeared jaded or slick, Hayden Christian (a.k.a. "Darth Vader") seems very young, likable and sweet and you don't want to believe he intentionally did anything wrong. And even when his lies began to come to light, his co-workers initially came to his defense--making excuses for Glass' "mistakes"--again, a sign that Glass was a master at manipulation. Evil, in most cases, is quite attractive or appears quite innocent--that is what makes this film a must-see.

After seeing this film I did a bit of research and found that the facts of the film are dead-on. As for Glass, he DID graduate from Georgetown Law School (a perfect career for an antisocial). I also discovered, to my regret (but no surprise) that he has inked a six-figure advance on a book--a work of "fiction" about a guy who, you guessed it, makes up stories to advance his journalistic career (sounds reminiscent of the O.J. book)! It's amazing how creeps like this always manage to land on their feet.
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An unspectacular but enjoyable little drama
bob the moo16 May 2004
The New Republic is one of many political comment magazines published out of Washington DC. The writing/editing staff is small and young and includes the humble and friendly Stephen Glass. His stories are often very interesting and outrageous and he starts to attract attention from other magazines for contributions. When writes about an on-line hacker who attacked the website of a large software company he attracts the attention of an internet-based journal and writer Adam Penenberg who gets attacked by his editor for missing the story. However, as Penenberg starts to look at the facts behind the story he starts to suspect that the story is one large fabrication.

I only vaguely remember the original breaking of this story and am not aware of the full facts behind the story but I was interested enough to go and see this film when it was released at the weekend. The film opens with Glass giving a talk to a class back at his old school where he learnt his trade, this is then used as a tool to give background on both him and the job he does. This works pretty well even if it is a little confusing as to when it is happening (a fact not understood until the end). The main thrust of the film is the gradual exposure of the lies that Glass has been perpetrated within his stories. In this regard it works pretty well as a drama with a good story – made all the more interesting and engaging by being true. It never really ignites into being a thriller and it misses a few opportunities to really be gripping but it still performs well as a good solid film – perhaps it was a decision not to stick in more shouting or acting fireworks, it was the right decision but I'm sure some audiences will expect shouting and fireworks.

The one moment I did feel that the film missed out was where Chuck picks several editions off the shelf and starts to realize the extent of the lies that they have been publishing: that scene wasn't dramatic and it wasn't convincing, that should have been a lot more dramatic – but this is only one scene in the whole film. Like I said, some people will find this film a bit slow and lacking in pace but for me it was the story that drove the film as opposed to theatrical tricks. The cast help the film a great deal, even if many of them are barely more than cameos. Christensen's performance worried me at the start because it seemed to be a bit cheesy but after 15 minutes I realized that this was the point. His Glass is manipulative and deceitful to the point where it is an act that he delivers naturally – it was a difficult character to do and, despite him not being showy, he gets it bang on and he delivers the same character throughout while just allowing the audience's perception of him to change. Sarsgaard actually turns out to have the lion's share of the film and he gets the showiest moments of shouting – he is good and acts as our eyes. Sevingy is a real good actress and does well with her few scenes. The rest of the cast is well padded with famous faces who all deliver well with the little they have. Azaria is good and is given a good character (who died in real life covering the war in Iraq), Zahn manages to not be an annoying pr*ck – a feat in itself, but Dawson's presence was a mystery to me. She has very little to do other that be pretty and show the pressure in her job, but he is barely more than a cameo.

Overall this film lacks fireworks and bases it's slow pace on the facts of the true story and not hammy acting or directing flourishes. In this regard the film is enjoyable if a little slow. It squanders a few changes to make more of an impact but generally it delivers a true story in a manner that is straight but well told. A great cast aren't all used well but are good where it matters while also adding depth. Not the film that Saturday night crowds will be hoping for but a good story well told nonetheless.
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A 24-year boy who writes for a fact-newspaper and has a bright future before him starts fabricating his articles
cineasten894 December 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Stephen Glass, genially portrayed by Hayden Christensen, most known as Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader in the two last Star Wars movies, is a 24-year old star journalist at The New Republic, and all his articles are entertaining its readers. He has a great life, he enjoys his job and he gets frustrated if he believes somebody is mad at him. But so far, he is happy. However, what nobody could ever imagine is that he has a secret. Chuck Lane, who is the editor, finds out the truth after the last article Steve wrote, Hack Heaven, lacks real sources and he starts to question him. It turns out that Stephen has fabricated more than half of his articles and it became the end of his journalist career.

It's an incredible story, a story that you would never believe about a fact-checked magazine, but that you know would happen in all "the other" gossipy magazines. This is just a unbelievable story that is portrayed by unbelievably great actors. You will just end believe in everything that read on newspapers, magazines, everything. You will also start feel sorry for Steve, despite everything. Stephen Glass had a potential, all his stories had potential, but don't believe in anything just because they are entertaining... they can be fictional.

What does not make sense is why Stephen Glass did not become an author instead of journalist for a popular magazine? Well, he wanted a little attention, he wanted fame, and he got it, but it also became the end of his career. The irony is that he has received his law degree and his first novel, that ironically is about a fictional story of a journalist who fabricated over half of his articles, has been published recently. The movie just made me think: What do you know about your friends, your parents, your siblings, your employees, your partners, your bosses? They can perhaps have any secret that you just couldn't ever imagine... just because they are such great people, so clear in their minds. But what I can say is that you will never judge people by their looking, character and personality... never judge them by their lies, secrets and what they have done, too... don't judge people at all. Just don't believe everything they say or write.
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jay4stein79-15 December 2004
I had been recommended Shattered Glass a half-dozen times by a friend. He said, after watching it - it's not a great movie, but it is really, really good. I'll disagree. Shattered Glass is a great movie.

It's not a great film (aye, there's the rub), but it is a great movie. It's entertainment, pure and simple, but it's also entertainment with depth. In that respect, it's a little like Spider Man 2.

In Shattered Glass, you'll find steady direction, sure-handed editing, an interestingly designed narrative, characters that are drawn well-enough but not so well that they overpower the story's forward movement, etc. You'll also find excellent performances.

Peter Sarsgaard, Chloe Sevigny, Steve Zahn, Rosario Dawson - they're all excellent (which they've all proved in other movies as well). Hayden Christensen, though, who was so wooden in Star Wars Episode 2, is amazing. His portrayal of Glass, though not perfect, is revelatory; he can actually act. Given time and the aid of excellent directors, Christensen will really blossom. Shattered Glass is, simply put, a solidly made movie about a journalist without the requisite integrity.

But why isn't this a great film and only top-notch entertainment? Well, it really comes down to the simple fact that Shattered Glass only scratches a surface that, in light of Jayson Blair and those of that ilk, deserves a little more attention. Of course, though, this is a film about a single event. It's not about compulsive lying or, really, lack of journalistic integrity. It touches on those subjects without delving into them. That is my only complaint. As a movie about a lying journalist, though, it's fast-paced, thrilling, and entertaining, and I think everyone will enjoy it.
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Walking On, Walking On Broken Glass.
tfrizzell27 June 2005
A young D.C. journalist (new "Star Wars" trilogy star Hayden Christensen) for The New Republic political magazine falsifies data and produces fraudulent stories. Slowly but surely his would-be meteoric rise turns into a dizzying downfall. "Boys Don't Cry" alums Peter Saarsgard and Chloe Sevigny are out of this world as Christensen's editor and supportive co-worker. Based on a true story, the picture has a tense documentary feel to it that makes it highly engrossing and fascinating early. The production does begin to tire late though as Christensen's crazed personality starts to come shining through with dementedly over-the-top results. Still a well-paced and intelligent take on American journalism and the pressures associated with the field. Worth a legitimate chance. 4 stars out of 5.
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Journalists Behaving Badly
rob.cottrell-218 March 2005
Warning: Spoilers
This true story of a successful journalist who was found to have made up nearly all his stories was a much bigger scandal in the US than over here. After all, the revelation that reporters can sometimes be economical with the truth is not exactly earth-shattering is it? It's actually only when you watch the documentary short that goes with the DVD that you realise how far this journalists' fraud went; he was paid tens of thousands of dollars for his work when it was syndicated and he would often libel perfectly innocent people, causing great distress. Yet despite the fact that these facts are missing from the film, it is still surprisingly gripping for what seems such an innocuous topic. But that's not the reason most of us watch this film. No it's because, the central character is played by Mr Darth Vader himself. Poor Hayden Christensen took a lot of criticism for his performance in the second Star Wars film. He seemed more like a Ewok trapped in the beams of a light-sabre than the incarnation of evil. Well, he's certainly a lot better in this film. As the devious and lying reporter, Mr Christensen, performs with the sort of arrogance and wickedness, used to cover up his own adolescent inadequacies, that makes you realise what George Lucas saw in the first place. Maybe this bodes well for the final instalments.
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Well made but it lacks a certain depth.
Boba_Fett113829 September 2008
I still don't know what to really think of this movie. On the one side it's a really made movie, that got well directed and features some fine performances from its actors. But on the other hand it just isn't the most interesting movie ever made because it lacked a certain depth for me. For instance this movie doesn't really explain the things why Stephen Glass did the things he did. We just never get to know what makes him tick and therefore this movie as a character study and character movie (which this movie obviously is) just isn't effective enough.

The movie is perhaps a bit too self aware and ambitious. The movie feels to self righteous at times. It was like the movie had a story and they knew in advance how they wanted the movie to end but somewhat forgot to build up effectively to it and the way the story progresses instead feels very obligatory and also predictable. Basically when you're being objective you'll also notice that the first and the last halve of the movie don't really connect that well and feel quite different from each other. As a matter of fact, halve way through the movie I actually wondered to myself what the point of the first halve of the movie exactly was for the story, since the story really started to take off halve way through.

But no it's not a horrible movie or one that I hated watching, it got too well made for that. Billy Ray is a director with potential but he's more a person who gives more priority to his writing. He wrote a couple of screenplays for some big and successful Hollywood production. He's currently working on the screenplay for the "Westworld" remake.

But what also made this movie such a fine watch was its acting. The foremost reason why this movie didn't became a real box-office success or the reason why this movie isn't really that well known is because Hayden Christensen is playing the main lead. He got criticized a lot for his acting in the new Star Wars movies and he made this movie between "Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones" and "Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith". Therefor most people just weren't interest in this movie but in all fairness he is perfectly cast in this movie and plays his role really well. He plays a reporter who is lying to his teeth during the entire movie and he does this very convincing. In the sequences you can tell when he is lying but at the same time you can also somewhat understand why his colleagues still simply believe him and take for granted what he is saying. A great accomplishment from Christensen. But who also deserves credit is Peter Sarsgaard, who perhaps plays the best role out of the movie. Other fine actors such as Chloë Sevigny, Rosario Dawson and Hank Azaria also appear in this movie but I don't know, I just don't feel that there parts are important enough within the movie to really leave an impression.

It's a fine enough watchable little movie but I just wasn't really taken by it.

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How to misrepresent and lie in journalism 101
Anaisnine19 December 2003
As a film commentating on the state of journalism and the ethical questions inherent therein, this film doesnt say much.

The film works better, and is better recieved for what it is- a great character or rather, characters story set in the world of prestige journalism.

The subtitle for the film should be called, 'My Funny Charlatan', because Hayden Christensen, as Steven Glass, really demonstrates( as well as openly dictates in the film) how to be a first class schmoozer and con artist.

In lots of the reviews, I hear people say how Peter Sarsgaarde, ( as Chuck Lane) is the tour de force performance, and yes he is very good as the low-key, but ultimately, driving moral force in the story. But really, the whole movie falls apart if Hayden isnt convincing, and humanized, as Steven Glass.

I have to applause Hayden for his portrayel of Glass and his interpretation of how a man could charm his way through life and be so convincing as to make some of the best journalistic minds in the country completely abandon common sense in relation to his journalistic output. To women, the draw is clear, he is charming, with boyish good looks, he throws compliments like confetti, he is flirtatious but without being overtly sexual. He is the journalistic equivalent of Cherubino- no woman can resist wanting to mother him.

For men, I suspect his appeal may be the fact that he is skillful, but at the same time, self-effacing, without the need to display any alpha male dominance. Talented, but assuming and always deferring, he is always ready with a pat on the back and an offer of beer, one of the guys. - He is like that mythical kid brother, looking upwards with respect , awe and hero worship to his elders.

But underneath that boyish facade of good looks, charm, wit, and 'aww shucks, who me?'ness, lurks a desperate and soulless character. And here is where Hayden's genius comes in(with some help from tidbits from the script)- you actually feel sorry for the bastard! Is he wrong for what he has done? Absolutely Did he deserve the disgrace that he engendered? Without a doubt. But all the same, you feel a sense of pity for this poor creature so desperate to be loved and accepted, so needy, so lacking in any internal sense of self, that he is compelled to lie and fabricate in order to perpetuate a sense of importance and most of all -acceptance.

I think fame for someone like Steven, like so many stardust blinded Hollywood wannabes that arrive in LA every year, is always what it has been: a need , a craving, something to fill that empty hole inside , that acceptance and unconditional love that somehow never happened in the formative years. So, while Steven's actions are to be condemned, if you can understand the motivation behind them, its hard to outright despise the man. Though, one wonders how any state licensing board would let him practice law( Steven Glass is an attorney now).
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Watching The Walls Close In
sddavis6324 December 2011
What I liked most about this was the convincing portrayal of the increasing desperation of reporter Stephen Glass (played by Hayden Christensen) as the walls start to close in on him and he continues to try to stand by an article he wrote and the magazine published which turned out to be little more than a series of lies. Glass continues to insist on the truth and accuracy of his story, even while he must know within himself that the whole thing is about to fall apart. A true story, Stephen Glass was a young reporter with the New Republic magazine in Washington, D.C. After writing a story about computer hackers, another journal began to have suspicions about the veracity of the story. Glass defended his story, but as doubts continue to be raised suspicions also increased. He claimed that his contacts were only available either by voice mail or by email, and many of the facts either couldn't be verified or turned out to be false. Eventually, it was determined that the story was a complete fabrication, which led to many of his other stories being checked out and also determined to be either fully or partially fabricated.

It was somewhat interesting watching the inner workings of the New Republic, with its personal rivalries and also personal friendships as they begin to come into friction with the building evidence against Glass, who was popular with his fellow reporters. You get a sense of the pressure to find newsworthy things to write and it's shocking to see how easily a series of lies can be turned into a supposedly reputable news story. Christensen was solid in portraying Glass as he slowly wilts under the pressure.

Having said that, I wasn't really enthralled with this movie. Perhaps as a Canadian I'm just not familiar enough with the New Republic to really have taken this story to heart. It's a good portrayal of investigative journalism, although the main plot device for moving the story forward was Glass speaking to a journalism class at his old high school and relating stories about his career. I didn't think that device worked particularly well, although I understood the irony of this master of deceit speaking to students about how journalism works. (5/10)
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Some Things Are Too Hard to Mend Once Broken
Chrysanthepop9 May 2008
After reading the synopsis, I thought it would be a TV movie type detective-like drama where they Glass's case is investigated. Also the fact that Hayden Christensen was playing the title role was a discouraging factor as I didn't like him in any of his other films that I have so far seen (especially of the Star Wars franchise). But, 'Shattered Glass', based on an article written by Buzz Bissinger, springs quite a surprise. Through Billy Ray's solid writing, he tells an engaging story of a young reporter, Stephen Glass who was recognized as a top reporter until his 'fall from grace'. 'Shattered Glass' can be seen as a character study or a psychological thriller. Perhaps it could have been an interesting perspective to see what mental conflicts Glass was going through while 'fibbing'. However, here we mostly see him as an outsider and as an outsider we discover that Glass is both insecure (and vulnerable) but at the same time very confident and manipulative. But this also leaves us questioning who Glass really is and that's what helps build up the tension. Is he really, as Chloë Sevigny's Caitlin initially says, an exhausted young reporter or a pathological liar? Christensen is a pleasant surprise as he does a brilliant job in bringing out the layers of Glass's personality. One knows what he did is despicable but yet manages to sympathize after seeing his weakness. The supporting cast that includes a scene-stealing Peter Sarsgaard, a vibrant Chloë Sevigny, an exceptional Hank Azaria and an excellent Steve Zahn. While 'Shattered Glass' raises a lot questions and issues, it eventually reminds the viewer of something very relevant, especially in today's world, that a life with dignity is always preferable to a lie based on lies. An outstanding and brutally honest movie.
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Glass Shatters
DarthBill16 August 2006
Warning: Spoilers
The true story of a young hotshot reporter Stephen Glass (Hayden Christensen) who was the premiere writer for the New Republic in the late 1990s. He wrote thrilling, colorful articles that drew the reader in and made everyone in his staff room fall in love with him, only to have his cozy little world fall apart when an internet magazine caught on to his little scam after he published a thrilling article, "Hack Heaven", about a 15 year old hacker who had impressed a big company after he hacked into their system and made outrageous demands when they offered him a job - and proved that none of it ever happened, which set off a chain reaction that revealed that Glass had fabricated more than half of his stories. While continuing to charm and manipulate his co-workers, Glass desperately tries to cover his tracks with everything from a phony website for the company to phony voice messages, but eventually his lies are exposed by Charles 'Chuck' Lane (Peter Sarsgaard), who replaced the late Mike Kelly (Hank Azaria) as the editor of the New Republic. The film is told in flashback with Glass fantasizing himself lecturing to a high school class when he is in fact really waiting to be given his comeuppance by Lane.

A tight, well told drama about the rise and fall of an ambitious man who eventually bit off more than he chew. The film's only real weak link is Hayden Christensen's performance. While he's not quite as bad here as he was in the Star Wars prequels, Hayden's still pretty stiff and wooden, which doesn't really fit with what we're supposed to know and feel towards Glass, because Glass is built up to be this sly, charming con man, but for the most part he comes across as a frail, weak little boy, but then again, that may be the idea for how he gets his co-workers, like the woman played by an unpleasantly confrontational Chloe Sevigny who acts as a big sister to Glass, except Glass was supposed to be lively, colorful, charismatic and entertaining, something Christensen doesn't quite project. Fortunately, the rest of the film surrounding him is well anchored. Special nods to Peter Sarsgaard, as the disgusted editor who helped bring Glass down.
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The Riveting True Story of a Weasel in Sheep's Clothing
dtb10 June 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Between STAR WARS movies, Hayden Christensen played master weasel-in-sheep's-clothing Stephen Glass, the young journalist whose star was rising high at THE NEW REPUBLIC (as well as GEORGE and ROLLING STONE, among others) in the 1990s until it was discovered that he'd made up many of the people and events portrayed in his articles. (As others in the film point out, the fact that THE NEW REPUBLIC didn't use photographs in its articles made it easier for Glass to make up characters from whole cloth.) Christensen often comes across as a whiner in his film roles even when he's playing a good guy, so in my opinion he was perfect casting as Glass, a young man so adept at manipulating, lying, and making people feel sorry for him that I felt like smacking him even before his true colors became clear to his increasingly frustrated, outraged editor Chuck Lane, played by Peter Sarsgaard in a justifiably Golden Globe-nominated performance. Sarsgaard's slow burns in his scenes with Christensen are worth the price of admission by themselves, especially in scenes where Glass (and an accomplice) pester Chuck at home when he's trying to have quality time with his wife and baby. My husband Vinnie hated Glass even more than I did, but then Vin just can't stand Christensen on general principle. :-) Kudos all around to writer/director Billy Ray and a great cast, including memorable turns by Steve Zahn and Rosario Dawson as the FORBES ONLINE reporters who initially uncover Glass's fabrications; and Chloe Sevigny, Hank Azaria, and our household fave Melanie Lynskey as the NEW REPUBLIC staffers fooled into trusting and sticking up for Glass. If you have fond memories of the ALIEN NATION TV series, don't blink or you'll miss Michele Scarabelli as the mother of a young hacker who also turns out to be a figment of Glass's journalistic imagination. Ironically, after Glass was finally fired from THE NEW REPUBLIC, he later wrote a novel, THE FABULIST, about a young reporter who fabricated his articles. It was met with disdain; critics found the book self-serving. Grade: A+
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The best American film about journalism since ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN.
rulesofthegame2 September 2003
This fascinating study of journalistic malpractice is not only one of the best American films of 2003, but the best movie about journalism itself since ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN. It's a complex, intimate character study that's simultaneously tragic and funny thanks to a brilliant performance by Hayden Christensen, who in his portrayal of New Republic writer Stephen Glass is almost nauseatingly amoral yet strangely sympathetic--like the other characters in the film (all of whom are excellently played by the best ensemble cast since TRAFFIC), the viewer roots for Glass to be innocent of journalistic fraud in spite of all the evidence to the contrary. And if the movie is entertaining and emotionally involving on the micro-level of ensemble character study, on the macro-level of social and historical sweep it's an absolute masterpiece, a witty and terrifying satire about what Americans want from their news media and how easy it is to lie and be lied to in a society that values sensationalism over substance. First-time director Billy Ray uses the 'scope frame expressively yet with subtlety and restraint--there isn't a moment in this film in which the camera fails to find the perfect way of emphasizing the dynamic drama that's already there on the page and in the performances.
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Excellent drama!
petarmatic17 March 2014
I really enjoyed watching this. It is important for us to sometimes to have a peek into journalist world. This film is an excellent portrayal of what happens often in the journalist circles, and we small mortals do not even have a chance to know a lot about it.

Plot is very interesting, and as far as I understand it is based on the true events. I enjoyed every minute of it. Well done script writers! Acting is also excellent, I love Peter Sarsgaard, not because he has the same name like me, but because he looks and acts like he is myopic (no hard feelings Pete, I hope to see you in many more film, I am like your fan). Do you have your facebook fan page? Not to forget those cute little young actresses. Mmmmm, wouldn*t be nice to see them in those OTHER films? ;) All in all, I strongly recommend this film!
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Hayden actually great
SnoopyStyle24 November 2013
Stephen Glass (Hayden Christensen) is a young ace reporter for The New Republic. The magazine is heralded as the inflight magazine of Air Force One. Glass is personable and his stories are fabulously enticing. He expertly weaves his fables with panache. Chuck Lane (Peter Sarsgaard) is originally a reporter, but then gets elevated to editor. Chuck is the exact opposite of Glass. He is reserved, and stickler for the work. As a reporter, he struggles to keep up with Glass's flashier stories. As an editor, nobody trusts him. When Glass's article on computer hackers is questioned by an online publication, things spin out of control.

The true story is shocking. And the movie portrays it with realism. This is probably Hayden's greatest performance. He has the boyish charm that makes all those lies believable. But he also has a twitchy quality about him. It's also believable that he made up all those lies. This is infinitely better than the Star Wars debacle. Peter Sarsgaard has that quiet intensity that is perfect for his role.

The only thing I didn't like was the older lady at the end when she says that if only they had pictures.... That's not necessarily any solution. Pictures can be doctored just as easily. And pictures can distract any fact checkers. I don't know if somebody actually said that in real life. But it's one line that I'd rather cut out.

I think it's too bad that Hayden Christensen will always have the Star Wars movies hanging over him. It overshadows some good work in this movie. He needs to find these types of roles that can challenge his acting skills.
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Impressive Film About a Real Battle of Lies Versus Truth
Rodrigo_Amaro19 December 2010
"Shattered Glass" present us the behind the scenes of one of the most infamous stories involving the journalistic world: the false articles written by the young reporter Stephen Glass while working at the staff of 'The New Republic'.

Based on a article written by Buzz Bissinger, the true story of Glass (played by Hayden Christensen) and his false stories show to us the frail world of journalism and the power of lies versus truth. A shadowy and tense place that seems cautious of everyone and everything but even in a place like that things can pass unnoticed, regardless.

But the movie is also about the people who discovered the truth behind the lies; the staff of a on-line media (played by Steve Zahn, Rosario Dawson and Cas Anvar) and Glass editor Charles Lane (Peter Sarsgaard), they are the ones who checked and double checked facts and more facts after noticing many strange and false details in a supposed scoop reported by Glass about a hacker convention that took place at a hotel.

The movie leaves many questions to its audience, some of them answered, others not so much. How come respected professional editors of the most important magazine of U.S., a magazine read by the President of the nation, haven't checked the facts of a young reporter whose major talents is writing and be a charming person that conquers everybody? Why Glass made all those articles? Is it for the need of being respected as journalist? Or it was a revenge against Charles because the editor before him was a very nice guy? How come Glass never gets tired of humiliating himself by telling that his story is true all the time? And the most important question of all: after all this deception can we trust media?

Billy Ray's movie has the same importance as "All the President's Men" has. It makes you see the press world as something powerful, complex, interesting. If in Pakula's movie you wanted to be part of that exciting world, in this movie you might get depressed (not saying that this is a bad movie) because it is a extremely difficult job, just like when Hayden explains us the routine of a newspaper room, the hours of working, the stressed writers and the stressed bosses, that kind of thing. It is a great film about journalism capturing the pressure and the hard work of simply tell a story, report a news, cover a subject and the meanders of how a news reaches the public.

The acting on this film is at it's best. Hayden Christensen is good but Peter Sarsgaard is way better and makes the movie more interesting in every scene he appears, stealing the show in every possible way. His character is presented at a distance but he gets bigger, deeper and more powerful at each moment, representing the ethical, moral side of the story. The speech he gives to Chlöe Sevigny and the confrontation at the restaurant are among his best moments in the film, things to not miss at all. He definitely should've been nominated for an Oscar.

Great film debut for writer and director Billy Ray who later would direct the impeccable "Breach". The sad thing about "Shattered Glass" was that it wasn't a big hit, it is a very underrated film that got a tiny but loyal audience.

"Shattered Glass" gives us a important lesson on how truth and lies are so intertwined that we might accept everything as being truthful easily, careless of things, careless of people. The 'don't believe in anything, be suspicious of everything' speech worked in this real life story. Except on this review, you can really trust in my words. This is really a great movie! 10/10
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What we want to hear
paul2001sw-130 September 2008
I enjoyed watching 'Shattered Glass', because I was fascinated by the story it told; but I can't really say that it's a very good film. For a start, it doesn't even really tell the story, about a journalist who made up all of his stories; at least, we don't see his descent into dishonesty, or the way that the stories are constructed, in any detail. And while the movie begins by asserting that most journalists are aggressive, alpha-types, everyone we see is a model of quiet, sincere decency, except for the fabulist who is little more than a schoolboy; also, one wonders, are any real-life journalistic staff this good-looking? And several points are made twice, just in case we don't miss them. Yet the underlying tale remains a good one, and a worrying reminder that you can tell anyone anything, providing it's what they want to hear.
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