(2011)

Critic Reviews

59

Metascore

Based on 42 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
90
J. Edgar is a somber, enigmatic, darkly fascinating tale, and how could it be otherwise?
88
As a period biopic, J. Edgar is masterful. Few films span seven decades this comfortably.
88
DiCaprio may well receive a Best Actor Oscar for his tour de force as the conflicted FBI director -- greatly abetted by Hammer (who played the Winklevoss twins in "The Social Network'') in his first major role as the flamboyant but frustrated Tolson.
80
This surprising collaboration between director Clint Eastwood and "Milk" screenwriter Dustin Lance Black tackles its trickiest challenges with plausibility and good sense, while serving up a simmeringly caustic view of its controversial subject's behavior, public and private.
75
J. Edgar shines a probing beam of light on a man who was widely feared, often disliked, but rarely understood.
75
DiCaprio does more than disappear behind steely glasses and prosthetic old-age makeup. He transforms himself, in a feat of acting, from the inside out.
75
Even when the film trips on its tall ambitions, you can't shake it off.
63
Most disappointing, Eastwood's decades-spanning portrait reveals little about the man himself.
60
At least Leonardo DiCaprio, grounded and sure, has commitment to spare. His portrayal of Hoover is undeniably terrific.
55
As Lily Tomlin's Ernestine once said, "There's nothing like a Hoover when you're dealing with dirt." Clint Eastwood's J. Edgar could use more dirt: This is a sensitive, sympathetic portrait of a scummy little man.
50
It's watchable and reasonably entertaining, to be sure. Eastwood doesn't make movies that are hard to sit through. But something in the film's point of view is off, not at cross-purposes, not contradictory, but incomplete, irrelevant and ever-so-faintly ridiculous.
20
J. Edgar, with Leonardo DiCaprio in the title role, is at war with itself, and everyone loses...Mr. Eastwood's ponderous direction, a clumsy script by Dustin Lance Black and ghastly slatherings of old-age makeup all conspire to put the story at an emotional and historical distance. It's a partially animated waxworks.

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