Sunday, December 4, 2011

J. Edgar: Review

In “J. Edgar,” we see an aging Hoover, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, dictating a memoir of his early career, beginning with the bombing of 1919 and progressing through the Lindbergh Baby Trial. Between depictions of dictated chapters, the audience watches a weathered version of Hoover try to hold onto power and polish his legacy during the; Kennedy, Johnson, and early Nixon; administrations.

This film humanized the historic power monger, by showing him at his most vulnerable. While Hoover was commandingly dominant in the professional realm, DiCaprio played him as being submissive toward his domineering mother, played by Judi Dench. We also see him as being awkward around women, as he constantly wrestles with his sexuality.

What I found interesting, were the plot points Director Clint Eastwood chose to gloss over. While much was made of the homosexual relationship with Agent Clyde Tolson, played by Arnie Hammer, almost no mention of Hoover’s propensity to cross-dress was made, except for a scene which was more about him saying goodbye to his mother than his sexual proclivities. Likewise, while the movie documented the prosecution’s physical evidence in the Lindbergh case, the film failed to mention the fact that Charles Lindbergh was an Eugenicist and Nazi sympathizer who may have killed his own birth defected child.

All in all, this was a balanced, superbly acted, look at J. Edgar Hoover’s life, which neither glorified or vilified the founder of the F.B.I. I give “J. Edgar” 4 out of 5 stars.

1 comment:

  1. I've been wondering about this one - it's a fascinating story. Reckon your excellent and balanced review is just the recommendation I needed!