Mixed or average reviews - based on 42 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 170 Ratings

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  • Summary: J. Edgar explores the public and private life of one of the most powerful, controversial and enigmatic figures of the 20th century. As the face of law enforcement in America for almost fifty years, J. Edgar Hoover was feared and admired, reviled and revered. But behind closed doors, he held secrets that would have destroyed his image, his career and his life. (Warner Bros. Pictures)
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 24 out of 42
  2. Negative: 4 out of 42
  1. Reviewed by: Kenneth Turan
    Nov 8, 2011
    J. Edgar is a somber, enigmatic, darkly fascinating tale, and how could it be otherwise?
  2. Reviewed by: Manohla Dargis
    Nov 8, 2011
    Mr. Eastwood doesn't just shift between Hoover's past and present, his intimate life and popular persona, he also puts them into dialectic play, showing repeatedly how each informed the other.
  3. Reviewed by: Jaime N. Christley
    Nov 9, 2011
    Black's script, in the wrong hands, could have come under fire for confusing Hoover's twisted mind with his homosexuality or his problems with Mother. Eastwood doesn't seem to give a fuck, and only opts for one overt visual match, depicting as mirror images Hoover's lifeless corpse and the remains of the Lindbergh baby.
  4. Reviewed by: Steven Rea
    Nov 10, 2011
    Most disappointing, Eastwood's decades-spanning portrait reveals little about the man himself.
  5. Reviewed by: Peter Debruge
    Nov 4, 2011
    Any movie in which the longtime FBI honcho features as the central character must supply some insight into what made him tick, or suffer from the reality that the Bureau's exploits were far more interesting than the bureaucrat who ran it -- a dilemma J. Edgar never rises above.
  6. Reviewed by: Dana Stevens
    Nov 9, 2011
    Whether unintentionally or by design, the movie never really makes a case either for or against the troubled figure at its center.
  7. Reviewed by: James Rocchi
    Nov 6, 2011
    Between Eastwood's direction and Dustin Lance Black's screenplay, what you feel leaking off the screen in every scene is missed opportunity.

See all 42 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 32 out of 56
  2. Negative: 11 out of 56
  1. Nov 9, 2011
    Awesome movie! DiCaprio needs to get that Oscar already!!! Ordinary critics didn't understand it because of the many narrative and time shifts but this film is a gem. Expand
  2. Nov 11, 2011
    If for no other reason, see this for the exceptional performances by DiCaprio (and others) and be reminded that good actors can be- convincingly- the characters that they portray and a good director is judged by their performance. In all regards, this movie deserves a 95 out of 100. It's worth going to the movies, again! Expand
  3. Feb 22, 2012
    Interesting film. A bit slow and the makeup was a very serious issue. The film is filled with quite good performances. Overall a lot better than Invictus or Hereafter. Eastwood has made it clear he understands the nature of relationships and what is revealed to others by those who are involved in those relationships. Eastwood has proven over and over he can tell a story and he does that here and does it quite well. Expand
  4. Mar 24, 2012
    J. Edgar may not be one of the best biography film but it does in fact kept its jest for the audience to see it through the end . Sometime it feels that the movie is too long .Movie should have more crime related topic . Leonardo DiCaprio did an amazing work as the title role . although sometimes i felt that he wasn't trying to do J. Edgar's impression but other then that he was super . I never doubted Eastwood's direction and I still stand corrected . Overall J. Edgar has good acting , good direction but still its not so much fun to watch . Expand
  5. Jun 13, 2012
    As with a lot of people I was highly anticipating this film but found it reasonably repetitive and monotonous. The hidden homosexual forbidden love was your stereotypical hollywood plot line, and maybe a little misconstrued. It does have its good moments, but all in all a fairly ordinary film, which is a shame considering Clint Eastwood directing Leonado DiCaprio.
    All in all I'd say a 5.2 out of 10, alright to watch once but nothing to rush out and purchase.
  6. Nov 14, 2011
    Well, I cannot think of much positive to say about this film. There was nothing new to be learned, no subplots developed, nothing revealed, and it just seemed like Eastwood was lost. Leonardo was packed under tons of makeup to play the elder Hoover with the film flashing back to key points in the pasts. Yet these key points were nothing we did not already know about and nothing knew was revealed about the. Eastwood focused mainly on his private gay life and partner but should that be the focus of a biography of someone this important in American history. A hugh disappointment to me. Expand
  7. Apr 6, 2013
    Si la performance de Leonardo DiCaprio mérite elle seule le visionnage du film, il faut également reconnaitre que cette biographie a de l'allure. Le réalisateur retrace parfaitement le parcours de ce personnage hors du commun qu'est Hoover, mais s'intéresse plus sa vie privée tumultueuse qu'à son travail, évitant ainsi les quelques longueurs propres aux biopics. Dommage que le maquillage soit faiblard et l'image trop terne, donnant l'ensemble un coté "amateur" qui ne ressemble pas Clint Eastwood. Expand

See all 56 User Reviews


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