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Primary Colors movie poster

Primary Colors - Movie Synopsis & Plot

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Henry Burton (Adrian Lester) is an idealistic young black man who has reached a crossroad in his life.

After three years as a congressional aide on Capitol Hill, Henry is renowned as a brilliant political strategist, but he has grown increasingly disenchanted with politics as usual. The grandson of the country's most celebrated Civil Rights leader, Henry wants to make history too; though cynical, he is still looking for someone doing something he can believe in.

But Henry is positive that someone is not Governor Jack Stanton (John Travolta), a virtually unknown southern governor who is running for President of the United States. Stanton is crisscrossing primary states but not yet tracking in the polls. A dark horse who could miss the race, the governor desperately wants Henry Burton on his team.

With considerable reluctance, Henry agrees to check Jack Stanton out. When he meets up with him, Stanton is pressing the flesh at a Harlem rally. Henry watches in astonishment as the perceived cracker politician mesmerizes a tough crowd by touching them all-body and soul. The crowd is seduced and so is Henry Burton. By the end of the day, Henry has agreed to run Stanton's uphill battle for the presidency-further convinced by his encounter with Susan Stanton (Emma Thompson), the brilliant, brutally frank, eminently attractive wife of the candidate.

Henry immediately sets up campaign headquarters in Mammoth Falls, the sleepy capitol of the Governor's home state and meets his new political family: Richard (Billy Bob Thornton) the sly, improbable political strategist who proudly describes himself as a "Redneck," Libby (Kathy Bates) the fanatically loyal, overtly gay, campaign trouble-shooter who always has a big mouth and occasionally carries a big gun, and Daisy (Maura Tierney) the campaign media advisor, young and smart and looking for love.

Together, the Stantons and their young advisors begin their long, scandal-riddled roller coaster ride to the presidency-an adventure for Henry and his new friends that will prove at once hilarious and heartbreaking, and definitely history-making.

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