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J. Edgar

A biographical movie directed by Clint Eastwood

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Fascinating Story of the Man Behind the F.B.I

  • Nov 23, 2011
Rating:
+4
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 that have helped police and government agencies solve crimes for the last few decades. Hoover was an incredibly determined man and he wanted to organize citizens like he organized the Library of Congress, on cards with their fingerprints, so that you could readily access if they'd committed a crime. He became obsessed with that idea, much to the detriment of his personal life.

                                                    

Though, it appears that he had no interest in pursuing the ladies, I thought his sexuality was played really subtly. I expected it to be so blatant (as other reviewers have stated) but, it wasn't. The only thing I had a problem is with the catering to stereotype in one scene. That has more to do with the writers/producers then, the cast/director but, it still annoyed me. He and his long time right-hand man, played brilliantly by Armie Hammer show such a delicate relationship of balance of power, love, tenderness, loyalty and passion.

                                                   
When oh when will poor Leo get an Oscar? Dear GOD! The man is talented and has long deserved one, this performance just adds onto his long list of Oscar cred. DiCaprio has been reamed for his dialects in the past, but I thought he hit in on the head in this film. I thought he did a great job of playing such a complex man. Everything about his performance was believable to me, though, honestly, I wasn't alive during Hoover's powerful influence, so all I have to go off of is media stills and stories.

              

DiCaprio did not do this by himself. With the infinitesimally talented Dame Judi Dench, playing the only woman in Hoover's life, or at least the most important. The other woman tied for that title was played incredibly well by Naomi Watts, Hoover's secretary, Ms. Gandy. An awkwardly funny scene earlier in the movie landed her that role, to which she was loyal his entire life. Honestly, I had no idea Watts was this character until I looked it up on imdb.com. That should say a lot about her acting! Bobby Kennedy was another wonderful performance that added to this film's quality, played by Jeffrey Donovan (from TV's Burn Notice).

I highly recommend this movie. My one complaint is that it seemed a bit long and I wanted it to focus even more on the birth of the FBI. OK, I have one more- Nixon. The guy who played him was miscast. I agree he looked slightly like him, emphasize slightly but, he didn't have the accent or the gesticulations down. This is not a film about the FBI, it's about J.Edgar Hoover, who had his friends call him Edgar, just like his mother had.

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December 03, 2011
Hoover was interested and involved with some women, but his dominant proclivities usually didn't extend to the fairer sex.

Also, Armie Hammer provided that knockout embodiment of Clyde Tolson, not Josh Hamilton.
December 05, 2011
You're right- I'll correct that now. Sorry for the mix-up and thanks for the correction.
December 06, 2011
By the way, junior Armie's a hammer of THE Hammers, his father none other than Occidental Petroleum magnate/Cold War switch-hitter Armand. So much nepotism results in horrid performances, but like those pleasant exceptions from Michael Douglas to Balthazar Getty before him, Hammer's performance here proves him a refreshingly talented fortunate son, and his preceding role as the Winklevoss boys in The Social Network is one of but a few outstanding factors that I'll surely gush over whenever I type a gargantuan review of that fucking thing.
December 07, 2011
Yeah, I thought he was great- just had him mixed up a bit ;p So often, rich heirs waste their time and resources on cocaine and Paris Hilton. It's always good to see when one of them jumps out of that box and has talent.
 
December 02, 2011
Wonderful review and I certainly agree with you that Leo deserves much more attention that he has gotten; he's VERY talented and it seems from all the reviews I've read that he deserves a lot for his performance in this one. You know, I am the most UN-political person that ever lived, so I was really not aware of the influence Hoover had as far as the FBI - I'm glad you mentioned this in your first paragraph -- excellent review Samantha and this is one I really should see.
December 03, 2011
I think you would LOVE it, Brenda! It's a great film and Leo should get an Oscar for this one, hopefully. I didn't have a clue as to how far his influenced reach either, so it was all fascinating to me. Thanks for the compliments :)
 
December 02, 2011
Excellent review. I really like it a lot also. And although I am not a huge Leo fan, his performance won me over in this film and I think its his chance for an Oscar. There has been a lot of debate about the way his sexuality was addressed in the film. One side is as you stated saying it was handled very subtly. I went in expecting it to be somewhat hidden leaving you guessing, but instead felt it was handled more openly that I had expected. I do think their relationship was handled just as it would have happened during the time period when things we kept secret and not openly displayed. And I loved Judy Dench in the film also.
December 02, 2011
Thanks, Larry! I think that the reason I thought it was subtle was that due to some reviews I had read, they said that it was open and obvious which I didn't agree with. Obviously, yes, they were lovers but, I didn't think it was as out there as, say, Milk or something. I also agree that that was due to the time period in which the movie takes place. I loved Dame Judi Dench but, really, who doesn't?
 
November 27, 2011
Great review, can't wait to see this.
November 27, 2011
Thanks for reading! It's definitely worth your time, let us know what you think after you get a chance to check it out.
 
November 23, 2011
Nice going, Sam! I have to say I am happy that this movie has been getting quite a lot of positive reviews. I have been procrastinating on this one, but I intend to catch up real soon (24 unwatched blurays and going to theaters), the Holidays are putting a cramp on my movie-watching habits. As for the movie being a little too long, seems like Eastwood is sticking to his philosophy of grabbing the originally script raw with no changes. Thanks!!
November 23, 2011
Thanks Woo- it started as a QT but, then I kept hearing you and Count asking me why it wasn't a review once it hit three paragraphs lol. Yeah, the length didn't drag the story, you could just feel it. Then, I left the theatre and was like...WHAT TIME IS IT?!? Holy cow! You could prob wait to see this on DVD because it won't make that much of a difference in your viewing pleasure.
 
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More J. Edgar (2011 film) reviews
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 08, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
'J. Edgar' 'Two Jews On Film' Duke It Out Over Clint Eastwood's Latest Bio Pic (Video)
      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 …
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 …
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Wiki

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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Tags

Drama, History, Clint Eastwood, Leonardo Dicaprio, Gangsters, Naomi Watts, Bio Pics, Armie Hammer, J Edgar Hoover, J Edgar Movie Review

Details

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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