Metascore
71

Generally favorable reviews - based on 18 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 18
  2. Negative: 1 out of 18
  1. 91
    Trumbo sexes up Trumbo's already dramatic story with a massive infusion of star power.
  2. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    88
    Peter Askin's powerful documentary serves as an important reminder of our First Amendment rights, and a tribute to one man who fought to preserve them in the face of Congressional intimidation.
  3. That's Trumbo's message -- that the true victim was America.
  4. Family home movies and photos and archival clips round out the film, which holds its hero-worshiping to fairly tolerable levels.
  5. Reviewed by: John DeFore
    80
    An invigorating, funny, and moving portrait of a Hollywood hero.
  6. 80
    Trumbo is a terrific picture, a blend of interviews and archival footage and readings of Trumbo's letters and speeches.
  7. Today few would dispute Trumbo's assessment of that very dark period: "The blacklist was a time of evil, and no one who survived it on either side came through untouched by evil."
  8. Trumbo, a rousing documentary as ornery, orotund and captivating as its subject (1905-1976), is an anatomy of irony.
  9. Trumbo is welcome just to bear witness to the severe consequences meted out to one man who dared to do the right thing.
  10. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    75
    Trumbo never wavered in his belief that his persecution was only a horrible symptom. He understood the real victim of blacklist America was America itself.
  11. Reviewed by: Matthew Sorrento
    70
    This documentary's narrative feels deliberately chronological, as the storyline adheres to the major steps of Trumbo's career. Nonetheless, the film realizes many great moments to make the writer's story – often reduced to a footnote – into an intriguing one.
  12. Reviewed by: Robert Wilonsky
    70
    The actors--most unshaven, wrinkled, so goddamned serious--steal the writer's movie, as they wring from his epistles every last drop of blood and sweat spilled by a man punished for believing his country was better than its behavior.
  13. An unconventional film about an unconventional man. Part documentary, part expertly staged readings, it focuses on the unquiet life and unforgettable words of screenwriter Dalton Trumbo, someone who, as his son puts it, never had to go looking for trouble because it always came to him.
  14. Reviewed by: Robert Koehler
    70
    It will serve as a fine entry point for younger auds interested in learning about the price paid by moviemakers and their families swept up in the 1950s anti-Communist net.
  15. What becomes clear is that Trumbo's humor is only one thing that helped him survive the professional and personal hardships of the blacklist, which drove more than one of his Hollywood friends to kill themselves and took a toll on Trumbo's children.
  16. Donald Sutherland's passionate rendition of a speech from Trumbo's 1971 film "Johnny Got His Gun" (based on his novel) is worth the price of admission.
  17. Trumbo doesn't pretend to be tough-minded about its subject, and its failure to date the letters is an annoyance. But the substance of those letters, along with documentary footage and a touching appearance by Kirk Douglas, throws a baleful light on a bleak chapter of American history.
  18. 25
    The misleading documentary Trumbo paints a golden nimbus of holiness around the onetime highest-paid screenwriter in Hollywood, Dalton Trumbo, an on-the-record hater of democracy, defender of authoritarian rule and avowed Communist.

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