Warner Bros. Pictures | Release Date: November 9, 2011
6.5
USER SCORE
Generally favorable reviews based on 207 Ratings
USER RATING DISTRIBUTION
Positive:
107
Mixed:
81
Negative:
19
Watch Now
Stream On
Stream On
Review this movie
VOTE NOW
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Check box if your review contains spoilers 0 characters (5000 max)
4
JamesLNov 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 elderWell, 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
5 of 7 users found this helpful52
All this user's reviews
5
TigerDinerNov 13, 2011
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. HooverUnfortunately, 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. Expand
4 of 8 users found this helpful44
All this user's reviews
5
kingasa2020Nov 10, 2011
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.
2 of 4 users found this helpful22
All this user's reviews
6
JFKNov 9, 2011
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.
0 of 2 users found this helpful02
All this user's reviews
5
Andys_ReviewsFeb 3, 2013
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 goodAlthough 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.
Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful00
All this user's reviews
4
JasonGoalieNov 14, 2011
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 scenesDespite 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
0 of 0 users found this helpful00
All this user's reviews
5
wishmasterDec 25, 2011
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.
0 of 0 users found this helpful00
All this user's reviews
6
TokyochuchuAug 7, 2012
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 spreadsAs 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
0 of 0 users found this helpful00
All this user's reviews
6
cabritaSep 22, 2012
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.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 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
0 of 0 users found this helpful00
All this user's reviews
5
MajorBobDec 17, 2011
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 fallsDisappointing! 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.
Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful00
All this user's reviews
5
lahaineDec 14, 2011
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 haveJ. 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
0 of 0 users found this helpful00
All this user's reviews
6
AkkharMar 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 didJ. 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
0 of 0 users found this helpful00
All this user's reviews
5
SachiNov 28, 2011
"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"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
0 of 0 users found this helpful00
All this user's reviews
4
CtrlAltDel337Nov 23, 2011
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,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 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
0 of 0 users found this helpful00
All this user's reviews
6
dj1982Jan 12, 2012
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 stillThis 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. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful00
All this user's reviews
6
lasttimeisawSep 21, 2012
Mr. Eastwood
0 of 0 users found this helpful00
All this user's reviews
6
nascentFeb 28, 2012
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 aStarted 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. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful00
All this user's reviews
5
lblJan 20, 2012
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?
0 of 0 users found this helpful00
All this user's reviews
5
khan2705Feb 14, 2012
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 thisWell 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
0 of 0 users found this helpful00
All this user's reviews
5
JaakkoJun 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 itsAs 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.
Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful00
All this user's reviews
5
SpangleApr 14, 2017
J. Edgar is a flawed biopic from Clint Eastwood that continues to show that his late period fact-based stories always seem to lack something that to make them rise above the trappings of the facts they are based upon. Starring LeonardoJ. Edgar is a flawed biopic from Clint Eastwood that continues to show that his late period fact-based stories always seem to lack something that to make them rise above the trappings of the facts they are based upon. Starring Leonardo DiCaprio as the head of the FBI, J. Edgar Hoover, the film focuses on him starting the agency and the period right before his death. Both show a man fearlessly holding onto his baby and ensuring that it is established as the foremost expert on all matters of crime. Along the way, we see the impact his mother Anna Marie (Judi Dench) had on him, his clearly gay relationship with Associate Director Clyde Tolson (Armie Hammer), his trusty secretary Miss Gandy (Naomi Watts), his obsession with communists, his obsession with organized crime, assisting in the Lindbergh baby case, his dealings with political leaders such as MLK, and his dealings with presidents. All the while, he builds up the agency to nearly being the behemoth we see today. Though well-constructed, J. Edgar has some fundamental flaws that keep it from being successful.

Foremost is the make-up. It may be odd to start here since there are some narrative issues and cinematography issues that also plague J. Edgar, but it only makes sense given how absolutely horrific the make-up is in this film. While DiCaprio and Watts' old age make-up are quite bad, it is really the make-up caked onto Armie Hammer's face that stands as the worst. Throughout much of the film, particularly when Tolson has a stroke, he looks more like a CPR test dummy than a man. His emotions and facial expressions are necessarily overdone and too expressive as Hammer must force his way valiantly through the make-up that undoubtedly made him feel caged within his own body. That said, he is hardly the only one with bad make-up in this film. DiCaprio's is also very bad and never looks authentic. It looks like DiCaprio wearing a lot of make-up and never really makes the audience suspend their disbelief regarding his characters' age.

Narratively, the film never finds a way to use the make-up either, which may make it even worse. Overly convoluted and confusing for a biopic, Eastwood's film freely skips between the 1920s/1930s to the 1960s/1970s without ever really letting you know what year we are in and what situations we are in beyond just tossing Hoover into major cultural touchstones of the 20th Century. Having Hoover dictate his autobiography to a staff member - which was not true anyways - reveals just how slipshod this film really is as we jump from year-to-year without order and go long stretches in the past or present before the film seems to realize we have not seen the other time period in a long time. While it may make sense to use this screenwriting shortcut to tell the story, it really makes the film feel incredibly disjointed and lacking any sort of cohesion. This convoluted approach to telling a story where Eastwood constantly leaves off in the middle of a timeline before jumping to a new one really hampers J. Edgar and makes it feel overlong, poorly paced, and exasperatingly dull.

J. Edgar also struggles when considering the lighting. Now, I love noir films and shadows. Yet, this film is too much. Now, it is not noir, but the chiaroscuro feels pulled directly from those under-budgeted 1940s Warner Bros. noirs and Eastwood seems to try and capture that feeling for this biopic. It is ill-fitting and overdone with faces sometimes entirely obscured by shadows. This really hinders many moments in Hoover's office where we can hardly see the man or the people he is talking to. This may be hinting at some thematic considerations on the part of Eastwood, but if they are, they are never fully realized and really miss the mark.

Now, all of that said, the acting is quite good. As is typical, for DiCaprio, he delivers an excellent lead performance as Hoover and really captures his great power and presence, while still maintaining the other elements of his life quite capably. In particular, these "other elements" include his homosexuality, which is nicely portrayed by Eastwood with a gentle approach. Showing the secrecy that they must live in with Edgar and Colson restricted to slight touches of the hand and two brief kisses, the film shows both the troubles at the time and gives a tender look at the personal and intimate life of such a tough man. Their relationship is not just well-written and nicely handled, but DiCaprio's excellent performance is matched by a similarly terrific performance from Armie Hammer, who plays the only man that really ever understood Hoover at his most vulnerable, being able to quickly tell if he is lying or not.
Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful00
All this user's reviews