How relevant is a political figure’s private life? Is anything off-limits?

“The Front Runner,” about the Gary Hart scandal of 1987, brings up lots of questions.

And though it’s been 30 years since Hart bowed out of the ’88 presidential race over accusations that he was having an extramarital affair, those questions still have no easy answers.

How relevant is a political figure’s private life? How far should journalists go in delving into the lives of those running for office? Is anything off-limits?

More specifically, should the public know whether a politician has had extramarital affairs? Is that important in considering the qualifications of a candidate? Should candidates be required – maybe not legally, but in the court of public opinion – to answer questions about their marriages and similar private matters?

Hart, in real life (apparently) and as played by Hugh Jackman in “The Front Runner,” would say no. The movie, directed by Jason Reitman (“Up in the Air,” “Juno”), portrays the Democratic candidate for president and former senator of Colorado as someone eager to deal with the important issues facing the nation, but ill at ease with posing for family portraits, submitting to People magazine-type interviews, or taking part in other activities he views as frivolous distractions.

When reporters start questioning him about rumors about his marriage, and possible womanizing, Hart becomes indignant, saying his private life is no one’s business, and that it has no bearing on how he wants to serve his country.

Besides, an insider remarks, if extramarital affairs were unacceptable for politicians, “we’d have to expel half the Senate.”

But things heat up as reporters from the Miami Herald, working on a tip that Hart is having an affair with pharmaceutical rep Donna Rice (Sara Paxton), follow Rice from Miami to Hart’s Washington, D.C., apartment; determine during a stakeout that she spent the night alone with Hart (though they’re unaware of a back door to the apartment); and confront him with the accusation.

Hart contends, once again, his private life is none of their business, but he’s miscalculated the situation, and all hell breaks loose. For better or worse, the rules involving looking the other way about such matters no longer apply.

All of this does not necessarily lead to great drama. Perhaps because director Reitman keeps the nature of their relationship vague (with no straight answers ever supplied, though they’re certainly implied), Jackman’s emotionally distant Hart and Paxton’s teary Rice never really come to life. Vera Farmiga, who worked with Reitman on “Up in the Air,” creates a deeper character with conflicting emotions as Hart’s wife, Lee, and comedian Bill Burr pretty much steals the film in a relatively small role as an aggressive Herald reporter. The always reliable J.K. Simmons also livens up his scenes as Hart’s no-nonsense campaign manager, Bill Dixon.

But, mostly, “The Front Runner” works as an intellectual exercise, as we’re challenged to consider the ramifications of Hart’s downfall. What standards should we have for politicians? Would we be able to live up to them? Doesn’t everyone have flaws? Where do we draw the line? And where should journalists draw the line in pursuing a story?

The questions go on and on. And all are as relevant in 2018 as they were in 1987.