The major thing that drags The Ides of March has, ironically, almost nothing to do with the movie itself. The thing is, almost all of it's major characters are played by actors who appeared in other films this year, that are uniformly better. Ryan Gosling was in Drive, George Clooney was in The Descendants, even Phillip Seymour Hoffman was in Moneyball. And while The Ides of March is so so good, it's not quite as good as those.
The plot is devoted to Ryan Gosling as a high placed campaign worker, working for George Clooney's presidential bid. Okay, not TECHNICALLY presidential YET, as they're still in the primary stage. George Clooney's character is behind in the polls and they're desperately looking for a way to get him over the top. And that's when things start getting complicated. As with The Descendants, I can't tell you HOW they get complicated, but trust me.
Everything this movie needs to get right it does. The characters are well rounded and engaging, the script is well written and the direction, while nothing special is solid enough. The acting is great, particularly George Clooney is who is incredibly devoted to making this good (he both wrote and directed it, and his character plays out like his ideal politician) and Paul Giamatti in a small role.
It's let down by a lack of ambition and no real clear villain. Paul Giamatti is the closest thing the movie has to a physical presence of the conceptual villain (George Clooney's opponent in the primary) but both he, and the politician he represent, have far too little screen time to really count. And it must be said this movie is partisan and not shy about it (very few movies name the political parties of their characters these days, so this is actually a welcome switch). It didn't bother me, because I'm absurdly liberal, but if you're a conservative it might bother you. Overall though, I thought The Ides of March was quite good and if you're in the mind for a well made political movie, this one is definitely for you.
Elessar is a 22 year old Alaskan born cinephile and he'd vote for George Clooney. And not just his character.