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J. Edgar (2011)

6.6
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Ratings: 6.6/10 from 83,300 users   Metascore: 59/100
Reviews: 264 user | 379 critic | 42 from Metacritic.com

J. Edgar Hoover, powerful head of the F.B.I. for nearly 50 years, looks back on his professional and personal life.

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Title: J. Edgar (2011)

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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 4 wins & 14 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Cheryl Lawson ...
Palmer's Wife
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Palmer's Daughter
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Inspector
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Head Secretary
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Edgar's Father
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Hoover as a Child
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Labor Dept. Lawyer
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Storyline

Biopic of J. Edgar Hoover told by Hoover as he recalls his career for a biography. Early in his career, Hoover fixated on Communists, anarchists and any other revolutionary taking action against the U.S. government. He slowly builds the agency's reputation, becoming the sole arbiter of who gets hired and fired. One of his hires is Clyde Tolson who is quickly promoted to Assistant Director and would be Hoover's confidant and companion for the rest of Hoover's life. Hoover's memories have him playing a greater role in the many high profile cases the FBI was involved in - the Lindbergh baby kidnapping, the arrest of bank robbers like John Dillinger - and also show him to be quite adept at manipulating the various politicians he's worked with over his career, thanks in large part to his secret files. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The Most Powerful Man in the World


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for brief strong language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

11 November 2011 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Hoover  »

Box Office

Budget:

$35,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$11,217,324 (USA) (11 November 2011)

Gross:

$37,304,950 (USA) (17 February 2012)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

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Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Joaquin Phoenix was rumored to play Clyde Tolson, but the rumors were denied. See more »

Goofs

Tolson tells Hoover that firing Purvis would be "a P.R. disaster." The use of "P.R." to mean "public relations" was unknown in the 1930s. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
J. Edgar Hoover: Let me tell you something. The SCLC has direct Communist ties. Even great men can be corrupted, can't they? Communism is not a political party. It is a disease. It corrupts the soul, turning men, even the gentlest of men, into vicious evil tyrants.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Eastwood Directs: The Untold Story (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

The Stars and Stripes Forever
Written by John Philip Sousa
Arranged by Lennie Niehaus
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Great but not without its flaws
6 November 2011 | by (Vancouver) – See all my reviews

Just got back from a screening in Vancouver~ Thanks to Clint Eastwood, it was almost free (only one dollar per ticket) I will try to keep my review spoiler-free~

Personally, I thought it was a great film. Not exceptional in anyway, but still great. The tone reminds me a bit of Changeling. Makes sense since the stories are from the same period. I have to say, with Eastwood, Leonardo DiCaprio and Dustin Lance Black all on board, I was kind of expecting something a bit more than this.

I thought the weakest link was the script. It was interesting, but flawed. Also, the story was not very intriguing. Having watched Milk (also written by Black) and really liked how the story unfolded, I was expecting a great story about how J. Edgar Hoover rose to power and how he gradually transformed into the monster he became in the end. But instead, the story was told by shifting back and forth in time countless times, which at some point made me feel emotionally detached from the story and the characters. The bad bad makeup (I guess we can all agree on that~) was also very distracting. The elderly characters looked like wax figures to me.

That said, I really LOVED Eastwood's score. It was moving and really fit the mood of the film. His direction and camera-work were masterful as always. Leo was very convincing as J. Edgar, although I keep on seeing bits and pieces of Howard Hughes in his performance. Judi Dench and Naomi Watts were both great, however the same thing can not be said about Armie Hammer. I thought he was much better in The Social Network. There were a few good moments between him and Leo, but his performance as the elderly Clyde Tolson was darn right awful. I blame the horrible makeup.

As for the Oscars, this film will get a few nominations, but I doubt that it would become a strong contender. Though Leo's performance was not without its flaws, I thought it was more than enough to secure his leading actor nomination. Nods for best art direction, best cinematography and best score are also quite possible.

This film had the potential to become a masterpiece, but fell short of my expectations mainly due to the uneven script. While far from being one of his best, it is nevertheless a welcome addition to Eastwood's portfolio.

8/10


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