Ryan Gosling plays Stephen Meyers, a press secretary for Democratic Presidential primary candidate, Governor Mike Morris, played by George Clooney. He takes a meeting with the opposition's Chief of Staff Tom Duffy, played by Paul Giamatti, and everything starts to fall apart after that. He finds out that his friend and candidate is not as perfect as he once thought that that sometimes you have play dirty to stay in the game.
Along with starring in the film, Clooney also co-wrote and directed it. We also see Philip Seymour Hoffman as Morris's Chief of Staff Paul Zara, Evan Rachel Wood as Meyers' love interest Molly Stearns and Marisa Tomei as journalist Ida Horowicz. It is based on the play, Farragut North, by Beau Willimon which was loosely based on the 2004 Howard Dean campaign.
This movie was fantastic and a definite must-see, and I am not just saying that because I have an unhealthy obsession with Ryan Gosling. You watch how and why this idealistic young political staffer goes from being the "big guy on campus," as he is referred to at one point in the film, to the guy who no one will touch and how he deals with that. What are you willing to do to your friends and what compromises are you willing to make in order to do the thing that you love?
I would not say that the ideas in the movie are all that different or surprising, but the writing is so good and it is so well-acted that you can easily ignore the cliches. It was intriguing and very well made.