Nothing But the Truth is a 2008 drama starring Kate Beckinsale as Rachel Armstrong. The film focuses on Armstrong's investigative journalism job and the wave of events that stem from this.
Armstrong approaches Van Doren for comment.
The main narrative focuses on Rachel Armstrong ( Kate Beckinsale), an investigative journalist for the Capital Sun Times. The movie opens with Armstrong having been given clearance by her editor to run with a potentially government-damning story, after the White House launched an attack on Venezuela, believing them to be responsible for an assassination attempt on the President. It is then revealed that Erica Van Doren ( Vera Farmiga), a CIA operative, was sent to Venezuela to determine if they were indeed responsible for the assassination attempt, and was to report back to the US government. Her findings led her to suggest that there was no conclusive evidence as to who was responsible for the attack, and so she could not directly confirm that a military response was necessary. Despite her report, the US government decided to proceed with the retaliation, without suitable proof. With this information, Armstrong is instructed by her editor to approach Van Doren for comment, with the aim of running the story the following morning - before the CIA had a chance to shut it down. Van Doren refuses to even confirm herself as a CIA operative, though the Sun Times decides to print the story anyway - ignoring the concerns of the legal advisor, who was worried about the anonymity of the source used in the article.
The legality of running the story becomes a significant issue, as it is illegal for the identity of an operative to be revealed - either by the agent themselves, or by outside intelligence. As a result, Armstrong immediately becomes a threat to the American intelligence, and it becomes imperative to locate and neutralize the origin of this information to minimize the potential damage it could have on national security. Federal Prosecutor, Patton Dubois ( Matt Dillon), calls a grand jury to court, in an attempt to extract who the source of the story is. Armstrong refuses to reveal her source, citing her right as a journalist and felt that it would she would be betraying the person's trust. Despite her lawyer, Alan Burnside ( Alan Alda), assuring her that it would be concluded in a short period of time (believing his friendship with the judge would help their case), Dubois is successful in enforcing contempt of court, resulting in Armstrong's imprisonment until she revealed her source.
Armstrong's marriage becomes strained.
While in jail, she is informed of an initial wave of support from the media, championing her stand and keeping her news. She is also informed that she has been nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for her piece - indicative of the wide scale recognition of her situation. However, as time goes on, this media attention begins to diminish, until her own paper are the only ones still covering the story. Her time in jail also sees the weakening of her relationship with both her husband, Ray ( David Schwimmer) , and her son Timmy - who she eventually asks not to brought to see her anymore, fearing the trauma he might experience. Armstrong later learns for Burnside that he has been having an affair, leading her to separate from him entirely. During this period, Erica Van Doren is murdered by an extremist, believing her report to be unpatriotic and felt it should have supported the government's actions.
The escalation of these outside influences, in addition to the rising legal fees and fines, Armstrong is put under even greater pressure to reveal her source. However, she is released from prison, as the judge believes that she will remain resolute indefinitely, and so there is no longer a purpose in keeping her in prison - despite Dubois' objections. On her way home after being release, Dubois pulls her over to arrest her again - this time charging her with obstructing the course of justice. Unwilling to return to jail for an extended period of time, Armstrong agrees to take Dubois' deal of just 2 years sentence, with the incentive of an early release on good behavior, instead of going to trial. After this, it is revealed to the audience that the source was Erica Van Doren's daughter, who had told Armstrong that her mother had recently returned from a business trip in Venezuela - which had initiated her investigation.
Rod Lurie wrote the story for Nothing But the Truth after being inspired by the case of journalist Judith Miller. Miller had revealed the identity of a CIA operative, but later refused to name her source when charged with contempt of court, resulting in her imprisonment. Although the story at times is extremely similar to the Miller case, Lurie has stressed that his movie is entirely fictional - though admits to have used it as a skeleton for constructing his own plot.
The story itself has several intentional parallels with US military involvement in Iraq, such as the government invading a forgein country before later being proven incorrect in their assumptions. The Van Doren character (whose report did not support an attack) also has similarities with British civil servant, Dr. David Kelly, who likewise pointed out the lack of evidence to support the invasion of Iraq, before he eventually committed suicide.
The film was first shown at the Toronto Film Festival, with the expectation of a December release. However, despite the strong cast and generally positive reviews, the film never made it to the cinema as the distribution studio, the Yari Film Group, filed for bankruptcy shortly before its scheduled release.