This two men show about J. Edgar Hoover disposed of the most titillating bit of gossip first. J. Edgar was not a cross dresser, maybe a most discreet gay man, but not one who went around in feminine attire. I'd say that Leonardo DiCaprio gives the best information on the cinema about this most private of men. It certainly would not be the first time a closeted gay got into power and then to keep what they think of as a dirty little secret turned on their own. I don't like thinking of him as gay myself.
My own historical assessment of Hoover was that had he voluntarily retired after World War II Hoover's historic rating would be sky high. All that this film said he did, he certainly did do in terms of making the FBI a most efficient law enforcement agency. He did indeed turn it from a patronage ridden joke to a most feared agency feared by the people who ought to fear it, criminals.
But giving up power is the hardest thing democracy demands of its leaders. So Hoover who had built up enough information on all, stayed on and on. This film shows his view of an Ozzie And Harriet America and nothing that was to threaten that image was allowed to flourish, not on his watch.
When Ernest Borgnine as Hoover tells you something we also have clips from an interview with J. Edgar's number 2 aide Cartha DeLoach upon whose memoirs the opinions expressed here are based.
Borgnine is certainly a compelling Hoover. But a lot is left out of here, for two things Hoover's relationships with both Joe McCarthy and Walter Winchell, neither two get a mention in the film. His feuds with the Kennedys and Martin Luther King are covered and of course are slanted Hoover's way. The part about Nixon and his White House staff trying to get rid of him is most certainly true.
Hoover could beat the politicians, but not the actuarial tables and father time. This film has its point of view. I prefer what Leonardo DiCaprio did with Hoover.