'Foxcatcher' wrestles with small story

November 24, 2014 5:53 PM

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There is a fundamental miscalculation at the heart of "Foxcatcher," an assumption that the tale being told is an Important American Story. It's not. It is a curious story, and a mildly interesting one, but not one with big reverberations, not one that says something about the country or modern life. Inflating the tale beyond its natural scale only makes it feel trivial, like a fuss built around a minor incident.

The film was directed by Bennett Miller, who made "Moneyball" and "Capote," very different movies by different screenwriters but each with a certain grandeur, a thematic bigness that extended beyond itself. Miller applies the same treatment here to the story of eccentric millionaire John du Pont and...

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