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

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6.5

Generally favorable reviews- based on 177 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 heldJ. 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)
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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 24 out of 42
  2. Negative: 4 out of 42
  1. Reviewed by: Kenneth Turan
    Nov 8, 2011
    90
    J. Edgar is a somber, enigmatic, darkly fascinating tale, and how could it be otherwise?
  2. Reviewed by: Manohla Dargis
    Nov 8, 2011
    80
    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
    75
    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
    63
    Most disappointing, Eastwood's decades-spanning portrait reveals little about the man himself.
  5. Reviewed by: Peter Debruge
    Nov 4, 2011
    60
    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
    50
    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
    20
    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: 35 out of 58
  2. Negative: 10 out of 58
  1. Nov 9, 2011
    10
    Awesome movie! DiCaprio needs to get that Oscar already!!! Ordinary critics didn't understand it because of the many narrative and time shiftsAwesome 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
    9
    If for no other reason, see this for the exceptional performances by DiCaprio (and others) and be reminded that good actors can be-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
    8
    Interesting film. A bit slow and the makeup was a very serious issue. The film is filled with quite good performances. Overall a lot betterInteresting 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. 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 startThe 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. Expand
  5. 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, IJ. 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
  6. Nov 10, 2011
    0
    The most Painful movie of the year! It was like listening to geriatric elevator music for well over 2 hours. DiCaprio is a one note JohnnyThe most Painful movie of the year! It was like listening to geriatric elevator music for well over 2 hours. DiCaprio is a one note Johnny actor, one dimensional, screaming bore. The only redeeming value in this film is Armie Hammer. Stay away from this one! Expand

See all 58 User Reviews

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