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J. Edgar

A biographical movie directed by Clint Eastwood

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'J. Edgar' 'Two Jews On Film' Duke It Out Over Clint Eastwood's Latest Bio Pic (Video)

  • Nov 8, 2011

By Joan Alperin-Schwartz

Every once in awhile, you experience a performance by an actor that simply blows your mind...And that's exactly what happened to me, when I watched Leonardo DiCaprio portray J. Edgar Hoover  in Clint Eastwood's new film, 'J. Edgar'

.What makes a great performance are the subtle things an actor does...things that inform the character...a gesture, a look, body language, the tilt of the head...and DiCaprio obviously understands this...Because he absolutely nails the part.

Equally brilliant, is Armie Hammer (The Social Network) as Clyde Tolson, Hoover's long time companion, second in command at the FBI and  perhaps...his lover. For me, I found their relationship the most interesting aspect of this film.    

Okay so anyone can google J. Edgar Hoover and get a slew of facts about the man as well as contrary opinions regarding his sexuality. But one thing is for sure...

J. Edgar Hoover was a monster...a blackmailing, lying, egotistical, cunning, sexually repressed, control freak who was badly in need of a good shrink.  

All you have to do is observe the interaction between J. Edgar and his mother, (the wonderful, Judi Dench) and you'll understand where J. Edgar got his insanity from.  Mother Hoover was a super religious, dominating woman, who brought up her boy to believe that he was a God.  

In all fairness, J. Edgar was quite intelligent.  He came up with some of the most innovative crime fighting techniques that the FBI still uses today.

And thanks to his infamous 'Confidential File' which contained dirt on practically everyone, Hoover managed to stay the head of the FBI for almost 50 years...through 8 different Presidents and three wars.
There are so many good things in Eastwood's film...the cast of famous historical character we get to meet...Charles Lindberg, the famous gangsters of the 20's, 30's, Emma Goldmen, Dorothy Lamour, Robert Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Nixon.  Eastwood takes us from the early 1900's right up to the 70's.  

The cast of supporting characters are wonderful, including Naomi Watts as Hoover's loyal,  long time executive assistant, Helen Gandy,  who worked by his side most of her adult life. 

The only problem I have with the film is that everything feels a bit too tidy...too measured. That might have to do with the screenplay, written by Dustin Lance Black (Milk) I had moments when I found myself wondering what this story would have been like in the hands of some wild Europeon filmmaker.
 It's for that reason I gave 'J. Edgar'  4 bagels out of 5...

Also, please check out our video to see how many bagels the other half of 'Two Jews On Film' gave 'J. Edgar' Hint:  Once again we weren't even close.

'J. Edgar' opens in theaters, Wednesday November 9, 2011.  Put it on your 'must see' list for sure. 



'J. Edgar' 'Two Jews On Film' Duke It Out Over Clint Eastwood's Latest Bio Pic (Video) 'J. Edgar' 'Two Jews On Film' Duke It Out Over Clint Eastwood's Latest Bio Pic (Video) 'J. Edgar' 'Two Jews On Film' Duke It Out Over Clint Eastwood's Latest Bio Pic (Video) 'J. Edgar' 'Two Jews On Film' Duke It Out Over Clint Eastwood's Latest Bio Pic (Video)

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November 08, 2011
I'll be watching this on Wednesday and I'll be back to comment further after I've seen it. I skimmed your review because I want to be taken by surprise...thanks, Joan and John!!
November 23, 2011
Let me know what you think
November 08, 2011
I am really looking forward to seeing this on Friday. The trailer really looks good, and your review makes it sound excellent.
November 08, 2011
love to know what you think. Acting is amazing.
November 08, 2011
I will be going to the Friday morning matinee here in Baltimore. Will post my thoughts soon afterwards.
November 23, 2011
Great. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving. And Sam if you get a second could you subscribe to our youtube channel. We need 13 more to reach 500 subs and then we can participate in the YOUTUBE Movie Awards. REally appreciate it. Just go to to subscribe. Thanks soooo much.
More J. Edgar (2011 film) reviews
review by . November 23, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Possible Spoilers Alert. I really enjoyed this film. I found it quite fascinating that the FBI had such a hard battle to get initiated into American government and that each new President wanted to fire Hoover and disband the FBI.      Without Hoover, we wouldn't have FBI, kidnapping wouldn't be a federal crime (brought on by the Lindberg kidnapping), the agents wouldn't be armed or have any right to arrest criminals, and we wouldn't have a fingerprint database …
review by . November 16, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Oscar worthy performance for Leonardo - but no awards for makeup - J. Edgar
I rated J. Edgar a four based on Leonardo's DiCaprio's performance.   Clink Eastwood slow placing seems completely appropriate to me in this film, although I have read many reviews complaining about the pacing.  At two and a half hours the movie is long, but I was kept spellbound by Leonardo's tranformation into J. Edgar Hoover.   In my opinion he is a shoe in for a best actor nomination this year.   I thought Judi Dench was excellent as always playing J. Edgar's …
review by . November 02, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
J. Edgar: The Assemblage of Hollywood's Finest
             There is no question that J. Edgar is a remarkable man. He is the father of the Federal Bureau of Investigations and revolutionized the logistics of crime scene forensics; nevertheless, like any other man, he is not one of immaculate morality. There were accusations of corruption and disapproval over his use of espionage in his lengthy 48 years as the FBI’s director that began in 1924 and ended in 1972.  Behind the scenes, he had an egotistical …
review by . September 28, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
Throughout an illustrious directing career Clint Eastwood has delivered outstanding movies such as Unforgiven, Mystic River, and Million Dollar Baby, for which he has won five Academy Awards, for best Picture, Best Director, and including the Irving Thalberg Life Achievement Award. My personal favorite of all his directed movies is Gran Torino.    The actors who have worked with him have been blessed with Oscar: Gene Hackman for Unforgiven, Tim Robbins and Sean Penn for Mystic …
review by . November 09, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
One of my longstanding fascinations with history is the way we deify or vilify historical figures. Yes, we all know that George Washington and Thomas Jefferson preached big words about freedom while holding slaves, but those are just two examples, and neither one tells the full story: There are documents which indicate that Wash and TJ were aware of their hypocrisy, but thought slavery would fade away naturally in time. Martin Luther King was known for his dream, and for principled non-violent resistance. …
review by . June 19, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
DiCaprio seems to amaze me with his string of exceptional performances (Blood Diamond, Catch Me If You Can, The Aviator, Inception, Shutter Island) and he once again delivers as the founder of the FBI who kept a file on everyone and was the most feared man in America. Told as a sort of memoir, Hoover is nearing the end of his life and calls in an agent to write down his story.    Starting with witnessing the near assasination of a Senator. He finds a leaflet supporting the US …
review by . November 10, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Star Rating:         Leonardo DiCaprio has proven himself a masterful actor, but his performance in Clint Eastwood’s J. Edgar is sure to put him on the same shelf as Sean Penn, Meryl Streep, Viggo Mortensen, Johnny Depp, and Christian Bale – actors who inhabit their roles so convincingly that the real person essentially disappears. As J. Edgar Hoover, who became the head of the FBI in 1924 and remained so until his death in 1972, DiCaprio thoroughly captures …
review by . November 30, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Eastwood's filmic account of Hoover the Voracious, the Fastidious, the Venal - self-aggrandizing, mother's son, political paranoiac, closet queer, social inept, vindictive bureaucrat - exudes twentieth century Americana ethos, highlighting the contentious FBI director's harried exploits and tortured, marginalized private life.      Alternating betwixt Hoover's ascension and heyday in the nineteen twenties and thirties and his twilight years in the sixties through …
review by . September 16, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
Should have been better
This speculative biopic of the controversial FBI director stars Leonardo DiCaprio. The story opens in 1970, as Hoover is dictating his history of the Bureau; in flashbacks, we see his pivotal role the Lindburgh case and his battles with Communists, the Roosevelts, Kennedys, and Martin Luther King, Jr. He was also obsessed with his doting mother (Judi Dench) and his long-time Assistant Director, Clyde Tolson (Armie Hammer).      The story is, in turns, exciting and boring, heartfelt …
About the reviewer
Joan & John Schwartz ()
Ranked #11
My husband (creator of the cult classic films FACES OF DEATH) andmyself (actress/screenwriter) are ex New Yorkers, see alot of films and usually disagree. So our friends decided that we need a review … more
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About this movie


J. Edgar is an upcoming biographical drama film directed by Clint Eastwood,[1] from a script by Dustin Lance Black. The film will focus on the career of FBI director J. Edgar Hoover from the Palmer Raids onwards, including an examination of his private life as an alleged closeted homosexual.[2]
The film stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Armie Hammer, Naomi Watts, Damon Herriman, Ed Westwick and Jeffrey Donovan. J. Edgar is slated to open the AFI Fest 2011 in Los Angeles on November 3, 2011, and to be released on November 9, 2011, in the United States by Warner Bros. Pictures.
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Drama, History, Clint Eastwood, Leonardo Dicaprio, Gangsters, Naomi Watts, Bio Pics, J Edgar Hoover, J Edgar Movie Review, Armie Hammer


Director: Clint Eastwood
Genre: Crime, Drama
Release Date: 2011.11.11
MPAA Rating: R
Screen Writer: Dustin Lance Black
Runtime: 137 minutes
Studio: Imagine Entertainment, Malpaso Productions, Wintergreen Productions
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