In 1947, Dalton Trumbo (Bryan Cranston) was Hollywood's top screenwriter until he and other artists were jailed and blacklisted for their political beliefs. TRUMBO (directed by Jay Roach) recounts how Dalton used words and wit to win two Academy Awards and expose the absurdity and injustice under the blacklist, which entangled everyone from gossip columnist Hedda Hopper (Helen Mirren) to John Wayne, Kirk Douglas and Otto Preminger.Written by
When Trumbo and Otto Preminger talk over the phone on the day where Preminger announces Trumbo by name as the screen writer of Exodus, there is a ceramic teapot on the breakfast table. This teapot's design was part of a Hallmark special edition series by Dutch artist Marjolein Bastin and came out in 1996, some forty years after the scene took place. See more »
As the credit scroll begins, photos of the real Dalton Trumbo, his family and other people portrayed in the film are shown. These are followed by historical footage of Trumbo giving an interview (from the same one where he acknowledges that he is 'Robert Rich'). See more »
Excellent acting, great writing and keeping true to history make TRUMBO the best film of the year
Okay. I'll admit that I gave this film a ten because it should have a higher score altogether than the 7.3 it has, and I wanted to up it. But a solid 8 at least or even a 9, for sure. There are at least two reasons why this fine film is not getting a higher rating, I believe. One is that there are many people (including critics) who look only at it from a political standpoint, both left and right. And those on the right are not going to like it no matter what, fine acting, writing or whatever. The same in the left but conversely (and a smaller number). Secondly, this is a slow and thoughtful film that will not go over with many young viewers who are used to fast paced action and CGI content. they will find neither in Trumbo.
But, for students of history and for people who like a good story, without the fluff, it is all here. Classic good vs evil dynamics coupled with the inherent contradictions. The struggle of lost faith and eventual redemption. And perhaps mostly, excellent social dynamics especially centered around family loyalty and the struggle of holding to ones personal values.
As for the history, there is much here. As stated above more than any film ever having dealt with the subject. Films like "the Front" and "Guilty by Suspicion" are indeed good films that, especially at the time where breaking ground for a more nuanced exploration of the subject. That Trumbo is a biography is advantageous. A real biography, not a overly fictionalized and caricatured profile of the era. This despite that fact that some of the characters are fictionalized, they nonetheless represent the experiences and attitudes of real people. Louis C.K.'s Arlen Hird character being one. Dalton Trumbo may have had a better time of it than most, such as Hird. It is thought by some that the rising star of John Garfield was killed (literally-a heart attack) by the effect of the HUAC on him. This was a time, as the film states when people were fighting for their professional and personal life against what could be called a creeping fascist tendency in the US political environment. The fear and reaction and self promotion of many (ie John Wayne, Hedda Hopper et al.) is evident here.
The writing is excellent. My hat goes off to John McNamara and Bruce Cook for their adherence to historical accuracy and verisimilitude. The dialog is remarkable and keep you involved. It keeps you thinking and hits at an emotional level that few films do at all anymore. But it all comes together with the excellent direction of Jay Roach. To bring together the historical and personal is such a way is no small feat. He deserves an Oscar (as do McNamara and Cook).
I could go on...but just see the movie. You won't regret it. You can still watch Star Wars at Xmas...
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