The next time you see Marco Rubio, close your eyes and you’ll hear a familiar voice – it’s eerily reminiscent of Matt Damon’s sublimely creepy turn as the titular “The Talented Mr. Ripley.”
An endless string of tweets has highlighted the similarity ever since the Republican presidential candidate started stumping last year. One Twitter user even suggested her life “hasn’t been the same” since making the discovery.
“Matt Damon’s portrayal of Marco Rubio is Oscar® worthy,” another wrote. And, one offered a theory: ”Marco Rubio and Matt Damon live in FL / Marco looks like a tan Matt / they’ve never appeared together before / Matt is Marco.”
That they both sport boyish grins coupled with crow’s feet brimming above wide-toothed smiles have led some to label them as each other’s doppelgangers.
Saturday’s GOP debate drew attention to the fact that Rubio routinely recycles lines from his speeches that appear to be memorized. It truly is as if he’s playing a part – and a part that Damon knows all too well.
In the 1999 film “The Talented Mr. Ripley,” Damon’s character Tom Ripley seizes on an opportunity to assume the identity as a wealthy Princeton graduate after being mistaken for one at a cocktail party. Ripley, a master at impersonations, becomes obsessed with the persona of the man whose name and status he’s stolen. But the tomfoolery goes too far and mayhem ensues.
Much like Ripley, The Talented Mr. Rubio has been accused of playing the part of presidential candidate.
It’s been a consistent critique from his Republican rivals. Rubio has been ridiculed for being inexperienced and for one-liners that appear over-prepared. After a campaign speech last April, one reporter described Rubio as “auditioning to play the leader of the free world on a new network drama.”
Last week, Rick Santorum who endorsed Rubio after dropping out of the race himself, couldn’t even think of one of Rubio’s accomplishments in the Senate. And after Saturday’s Republican debate, in which Rubio repeated the same phrase four times – even in the midst of being called out for it – the criticism over his lack of spontaneity has only intensified.
Christie blasted Rubio anew on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” Monday, saying the candidate would not fare well in the general election because of his reliance on canned comments. “He’s scripted and he is not spontaneous, and he doesn’t – you know, he’s not a leader,” Christie said. “I mean, listen, he is a very nice guy, he is a very talented guy.” MSNBC host Chris Matthews also chimed in, calling Rubio’s debate performance “cartoonish,” while comparing the senator to the star of another film, “The Lives of Others,” and suggesting the senator sounds like he has a “recording device in his head.”
There was no denying the fictional Tom Ripley was talented, either.