J. Edgar (2011)

6.5 Overall Score
Story: 4/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 8/10

Nicely acted, good looking movie

Story was so jumbled for no real reason

Movie Info

Movie Name:  J. Edgar

Studio:   Imagine Entertainment

Genre(s):  Drama

Release Date(s):  November 9, 2011

MPAA Rating:  R


So, now I’m old.

J. Edgar Hoover (Leonardo DiCaprio) tells his story as the end of his career approaches.  He reflects back on early time with the FBI and how he came in to control after the kidnapping of the son of Charles Lindbergh (Josh Lucas).  As Hoover’s paranoia grows, his involvement with organized crime, the Kennedys, and Martin Luthor King, Jr. is revealed.  Hoover is hiding his own secrets however that only those close to him know like his secretary Helen Gandy (Naomi Watts) even suspect.  With a dominating mother (Judi Dench), Hoover’s relationship with Clyde Tolson (Armie Hammer) might explain the truth behind the man.

Directed by Clint Eastwood, there was a lot of anticipation leading up to the release of J. Edgar.  It was met with mix reviews and didn’t end up doing well during the award season despite praise for Leonardo DiCaprio’s portrayal of Hoover.


Do you like this dress? You can borrow it later.

J. Edgar was quite a bore.  The reason was that the script jumped around a bunch with little rhyme or reason.  Sometimes the story involved what Hoover was telling his biographer Agent Smith (Ed Westwick) and other times it would involve other events in “present day”.  It was also confused by the basic plot (a rather unsurprising twist) that what Hoover was telling his biographer wasn’t entirely true.  These elements combined for a rather confusing story about an interesting, secretive, and rather vengeful man.

The big shocker of the movie was to be Hoover’s relationship with Clyde Tolson.  Historically, there is very little known so what is portrayed isn’t very shocking since Eastwood probably tried to be accurate.  The movie renewed the debate on what actually was Hoover’s sexuality with some still saying he wasn’t a homosexual.  DiCaprio’s crossdressing scene after his mother’s death didn’t come off as tragic, but instead seemed humorous.


J. Edgar…I can’t quit you!

I will say DiCaprio did (as usual) a great job.  I still have a hard time seeing him as an adult.  Fortunately, the make-up for Hoover’s aged appearances were quite good.  It just didn’t seem like the right transformation since he looked like Leonardo DiCaprio when he was younger, but the real J. Edgar Hoover when he got old.

J. Edgar was a disappointment, but it did make me want a real film about the kidnapping of the Lindbergh child since that for me was the most interesting part of the jumpy story.  Eastwood has done better and will do better I’m sure.  J. Edgar was a stumble in an otherwise great directing career.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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