J. Edgar (2011)

TMG Scale 9.0     P Factor 1.0     MPAA Rating: R
Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Naomi Watts, Armie Hammer

J. Edgar J. Edgar (2011)TMG: An Eastwood masterpiece. I originally rated this film as a 9.0. But like they say in the NFL “After further review…” I have to admit it had some faults as Joy Lynn points out. This movie was the story of little Johnny Hoover—not the FBI, crime, gangsters and the whole career of J. Edgar Hoover. The title was well picked. 

DiCaprio is excellent as the young Johnny Hoover. “Edgar” to his doting mother. A fair treatment of his whole life and meaning to United States history and politics would take a twenty hour mini series to even begin to attempt.  Eastwood had to take one angle. I liked what he did. I liked it very much. But admittedly the film and the story is not perfect. Was Hoover gay, flamboyant or just unconventional? It’s still not clear.

The first line of the film is  ”Let me tell you something…” and such was indeed telling about the story to follow. We are told “something” about J. Edgar Hoover and the development of the FBI. So much was left untold. Producer/Director Clint Eastwood resisted the heavy temptation to dig too deep or go too far. Much of the mystique of J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI is all the nitty gritty we do not know. So much of the real truth, like Hoover’s secret files, died with him. Perhaps, it is just as well.

Joy Lynn:  I would rate this more in the 7.0 to 8.0 range. I thought the young DiCaprio as Hoover worked, much less so than the elder one.

The make up just got more disgusting as Hoover aged.  Clyde Tolson’s (Hammer) aged face looked fake—like a mask made of putty with brown freckles painted on it.  Hoover looked like a white faced ape.  They both looked so swollen! Secretary, Helen  Grandy (Watts),  looked very natural as she aged.  Why such a difference?
The film bounces around over five decades, skipping back and forth.  It gets confusing. Overall, the acting was excellent, however, if I am going to invest two and half hours of my time, I want to get to know the characters well. The full (48 years) history is less important than developing a story that you can follow without getting a headache from flashbacks that are all over the place.
Don’t get me wrong, this is a very good movie. The pace, tone and dialogue was excellent.  I was just not smitten by it like TMG.

 

 

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