J. Edgar

User Score
6.5

Generally favorable reviews- based on 183 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 18 out of 183
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  1. Nov 14, 2011
    4
    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 wasWell, 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
  2. Nov 13, 2011
    5
    Unfortunately, a bit of a snoozer. The movie is well-acted and nicely photographed. The movie's story never takes off. Why should we care about J. Edgar Hoover? I don't know - I care less about him no than before I saw the film. Hoover was a man of secrets with few friends and perhaps that is why there seems so little to tell.
  3. Nov 10, 2011
    5
    The movie tends to lose interest halfway through. And even though it is so well acted, especially Dicaprio, Clint Eastwood needs to start shaping up his movies.
  4. JFK
    Nov 9, 2011
    6
    Aside from a solid performance by Leonardo and strong support from Naomi, Judi and Armie, this is a languid, unfocussed biopic. Beautifully designed but lacking emotion other than in a couple scenes between Leo and Armie.
  5. Nov 14, 2011
    4
    Despite how underwhelmed I was by the movie, Leonardo DiCaprio was absolutely sensational. His performance gets an 11 out of 10. The movie, however, dragged. For a good 2 hours and 20 minutes it dragged. Too slow, too many unnecessary scenes and plot lines... Too many PAINFULLY awkward moments, especially between J. Edgar and his mother (played by Judi Dench, because she's not in enoughDespite how underwhelmed I was by the movie, Leonardo DiCaprio was absolutely sensational. His performance gets an 11 out of 10. The movie, however, dragged. For a good 2 hours and 20 minutes it dragged. Too slow, too many unnecessary scenes and plot lines... Too many PAINFULLY awkward moments, especially between J. Edgar and his mother (played by Judi Dench, because she's not in enough movies)... This should have been a biopic of J. Edgar and the FBI, not a disjointed web of lost plot lines and unnecessary developments... Expand
  6. Nov 23, 2011
    4
    This was a clash of two movies directions that did not mesh up. The main focus, in my opinion, was Edgar's struggle with his personal life. Superimposed over that, however, were a variety of historical events, such as the Lindbergh baby, JFK, Nixon, etc. These dramatic historical events weighed too heavily on the personal sub plot, and added very little to it, and vice versa. Just tooThis was a clash of two movies directions that did not mesh up. The main focus, in my opinion, was Edgar's struggle with his personal life. Superimposed over that, however, were a variety of historical events, such as the Lindbergh baby, JFK, Nixon, etc. These dramatic historical events weighed too heavily on the personal sub plot, and added very little to it, and vice versa. Just too disjointed to be a complete movie. Leo was excellent, though, and he was the only one who actually looked legitimately older with his "old person" makeup on (Armie Hammer's makeup was comically bad.) Expand
  7. Nov 28, 2011
    5
    "J. Edgar" is an alright movie, it takes an interesting idea but then fails to bring it to light. Leonardo DiCaprio's performance as Hoover is just flat-out amazing, as always expected from him. His performance is the only thing that keeps the film afloat. J. Edgar stumbles in every thing else. The plot is very confusing as it will just switch between old and young Hoover and events"J. Edgar" is an alright movie, it takes an interesting idea but then fails to bring it to light. Leonardo DiCaprio's performance as Hoover is just flat-out amazing, as always expected from him. His performance is the only thing that keeps the film afloat. J. Edgar stumbles in every thing else. The plot is very confusing as it will just switch between old and young Hoover and events interlap and stuff making the film kind of hard to follow at times. The acting and dialogue is a bit cheesy and stale and the film does nothing more than tell the events of Hoover's life from him at 24 years old to his death at 77 years old. The film does not offer any depth on Hoover, it would have been more interesting if the film went into detail about why Hoover did what he did but that does not happen. The film is largely uninteresting and can get very boring if you are not interested in J. Edgar Hoover. Overall, J. Edgar is an alright film that is not really worth the two hour time, not one of Leonardo DiCaprio's best films. I was kinda dissapointed by J. Edgar, not one of Clint Eastwood's best works either. Breakdown for "J. Edgar": Presentation: 5.7, Plot: 4.9, Acting: 7.3, Script: 5.1, Lasting Appeal: 5.5, Verdict: 5.3 out of 10 Expand
  8. Dec 14, 2011
    5
    J. Edgar is actually a pretty sloppy movie, trying to disguise itself as a heavy hitter. For someone this important in American history, I seriously think the focus of this biography should have shifted considerably. The movie should have been about the man's rise into power, and the major events and a few controversies that occurred during his reign. Unfortunately we got something whichJ. Edgar is actually a pretty sloppy movie, trying to disguise itself as a heavy hitter. For someone this important in American history, I seriously think the focus of this biography should have shifted considerably. The movie should have been about the man's rise into power, and the major events and a few controversies that occurred during his reign. Unfortunately we got something which was gimmicky. Allot of its technical attributes were quite good, but thanks to its foggy storyline, the potentially good editing work fell flat. As for the controversial makeup work, I have mixed feelings about it. The work on Naomi Watts (who also gave a good performance) was excellent, Di Caprio was inconsistent, and Hammer's makeup job was awful and stunted his performance. The movie wasn't boring though, things were kept moving and dialogue was good, but the film itself was an ultimate misconception, I probably could have done without seeing it. Expand
  9. Dec 17, 2011
    5
    Disappointing! That's the only "one word" review I can give Leo's most recent effort to win an Oscar. His portrayal of the man who made the F.B.I. what we know it to be today is a sensational character study. Unfortunately, the script falls flat in telling the story of how the F.B.I. was transformed under Hoover, from a bureaucratic blip into the most potent police force in the world.Disappointing! That's the only "one word" review I can give Leo's most recent effort to win an Oscar. His portrayal of the man who made the F.B.I. what we know it to be today is a sensational character study. Unfortunately, the script falls flat in telling the story of how the F.B.I. was transformed under Hoover, from a bureaucratic blip into the most potent police force in the world.

    Hoover's latent homosexuality and alleged cross dressing fetish is overplayed as is his devotion to his mother, played by the always terrific Judi Dench. Perhaps this story was too complicated to fit into one movie and Clint Eastwood's attempt to do justice to the protagonist and to history thus falls far short of the mark.

    The movie completely skips World War II and barely touches on the Cold War and the McCarthy era. I found this movie to contain too many snippets of history and too much focus on Hoover's sexuality. It is worth seeing for Leo's performance and the production values, which as expected from a Clint Eastwood movie, which are excellent.
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  10. Dec 25, 2011
    5
    Movie disappointed me, a dark assembly not to the movie was going well, make that left much to be desired, unless the actions of rescue Leo DiCaprio and Naomi Watts, a script that had no point of fascination that kept you glued to the screen.
  11. Jan 12, 2012
    6
    This movie has both - strengths (great acting, good story, interesting plotting) and weaknesses (awful make up, stillness at some points, lack of insight at the other points). This movie could have been much more, even though it is still worth giving a try.
  12. lbl
    Jan 20, 2012
    5
    It could have been so good. It should have been so good. It wasn't. It was painful and slow and turgid. How do you make one of history's great characters so boring?
  13. Feb 14, 2012
    5
    Well yes there isn't much positive to say about this movie, i knew from the Critics reviews that it wasn't very good. Clint Eastwood who did some impressive work disappointed me for the second time in a row after Hereafter though i liked this other movies which most people didn't. This movie was just so out of focused with the screenplay written in a hocus pocus way i mean all over theWell yes there isn't much positive to say about this movie, i knew from the Critics reviews that it wasn't very good. Clint Eastwood who did some impressive work disappointed me for the second time in a row after Hereafter though i liked this other movies which most people didn't. This movie was just so out of focused with the screenplay written in a hocus pocus way i mean all over the place. It was like watching a documentary on Hoover, reading his biography while hearing some made stories from your grandfather all at the same time and not getting anything out of it. i do appreciate Leonardo Di Caprio and Armie Hammer's performances but the movie itself is badly made, cold, dull, dry and soulless. Expand
  14. Feb 28, 2012
    6
    Started as an interesting telling of the corruption of the fbi and the rules he had to break to get what he wanted done, but quickly dropped it all to spend more than half the movie to heavy-handedly explore the alleged possibility he was a crossdresser and homosexual.
  15. Mar 24, 2012
    6
    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 . IJ. 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
  16. Jun 13, 2012
    5
    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
    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.
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  17. Aug 7, 2012
    6
    As one of the greatest cloak and dagger artists in history, there is a lot of scope for drama in the tale of J. Edgar Hoover's life. Unfortunately, most of the more remarkable aspects of it are only dealt with as footnotes. The movie spreads itself far too thin, giving you tiny snippets about this and that but nothing in any detail or depth. As such, J. Edgar is a disappointment. Sadly,As one of the greatest cloak and dagger artists in history, there is a lot of scope for drama in the tale of J. Edgar Hoover's life. Unfortunately, most of the more remarkable aspects of it are only dealt with as footnotes. The movie spreads itself far too thin, giving you tiny snippets about this and that but nothing in any detail or depth. As such, J. Edgar is a disappointment. Sadly, the movie is at it's best when dealing with it's repressed homosexual love story (even when the two male leads have almost no chemistry). With fine acting and period detailing, J. Edgar is entertaining enough but ultimately forgettable. Expand
  18. Sep 22, 2012
    6
    What starts off as an engrossing subtle objective take on Hoover's life by the end turns into a film with a certain agenda. I did not feel for Hoover as much as I found him an interesting man which is why I found the beginning to be great. However the last 45 minutes fail to move the story but instead the agenda of the screenwriter. Dicaprio delivers an outstanding performance in one ofWhat starts off as an engrossing subtle objective take on Hoover's life by the end turns into a film with a certain agenda. I did not feel for Hoover as much as I found him an interesting man which is why I found the beginning to be great. However the last 45 minutes fail to move the story but instead the agenda of the screenwriter. Dicaprio delivers an outstanding performance in one of the best looking films of the year. It had great potential too bad both of Eastwood's recent directorial outings have started off great but slowly fall apart. Expand
  19. Feb 3, 2013
    5
    Although well made, I found the subject matter all a tad too dry; there was little excitement and what there was appeared very sporadic. I did like the look of the film though; the muted colours matched the mood; Eastwood always has a good eye for a shot and it shows. I also quite liked the original music, also written by Eastwood, nothing too ostentations, but nicely matched to theAlthough well made, I found the subject matter all a tad too dry; there was little excitement and what there was appeared very sporadic. I did like the look of the film though; the muted colours matched the mood; Eastwood always has a good eye for a shot and it shows. I also quite liked the original music, also written by Eastwood, nothing too ostentations, but nicely matched to the action. The performances were all very good with DiCaprio easily standing out but I thought Naomi Watts was woefully underused. Over all, I can’t say I was entirely thrilled with this one. I felt the whole thing was maybe too ambitious. If they had concentrated on (say) the Lindbergh kidnapping and used that as the backdrop to the narrative then maybe it would have worked better. But sadly this is not one I can recommend I’m afraid.

    SteelMonster’s verdict: NOT RECOMMENDED

    My score: 4.8/10.
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  20. Apr 6, 2013
    6
    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 maquillageSi 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
Metascore
59

Mixed or average reviews - based on 42 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 24 out of 42
  2. Negative: 4 out of 42
  1. Reviewed by: Nick de Semlyen
    Jan 16, 2012
    60
    A well acted but unfocused study of one of the 20th century's most colourful characters.
  2. Reviewed by: Mike Scott
    Nov 11, 2011
    63
    So while J. Edgar ends up feeling like a mostly complete portrait of the man, and as fascinating a story as it is, it still falls just short of being something entirely memorable.
  3. Reviewed by: Rick Groen
    Nov 11, 2011
    63
    What a sprawling, befuddling, fascinating, frustrating mess of a movie. Usually the tautest of directors, Clint Eastwood has gone all slack here, allowing his subject to get completely away from him.