Senator Gary Hart (Hugh Jackman
) is considered the front runner for the 1988 Democratic presidential nomination. He's young, handsome, charming and has a supportive wife and daughter. When rumors of his extramarital activity surface, he challenges the media to follow him, vowing he has nothing to hide.
The media takes him up on the challenge and soon discovers he's having an affair with a much younger woman named Donna Rice (Sara Paxton). The news makes the front page, and although Hart's team tells him he has to confront it, he wants to ignore the allegations instead, angry at the intrusion into his private life. Meanwhile, Hart's team takes Rice under their wing in order to minimize the damage, hiding her from the press for as long as they can before she becomes infamous as Hart's mistress.
Hart's wife, Lee (Vera Farmiga) and daughter Andrea (Kaitlyn Dever) find their lives forever changed as well, as they cope with the media camping, day in and day out, outside their once-quiet home. Hart finally faces the allegations, questioning why his private life should matter, but he soon discovers that not only has his privacy been compromised, but his public life and career have also sustained considerable damage.