I’m split about J. Edgar

J. Edgar

It’s not too often I’ll go see a movie based on the star, but Leonardo DiCaprio is usually a good choice. With J. Edgar, it looked like a great story about the troubled man who made the FBI into the law enforcement power it is today, so off I went to see it.


As J. Edgar Hoover, DiCaprio conveyed the frailty of the man with his mother, the overcompensating dominance with those in the bureau/politics, and the extreme paranoia against anything foreign, especially communism. I found it hard to feel for Hoover since he rarely let his emotions show, outside of anger.

Armie Hammer, as Hoover’s long-time second in command, had much more of an emotional role to play. As a man who was so clearly devoted to Hoover, he always seemed to have to keep him in check when he got out of line, but he hardly faltered, even though Hoover never really showed the affection he wanted until they were old men.


Since the story took place across two different times, when the characters were younger and old, a lot of makeup magic was needed to make sure the characters looked like their real life counterparts. As an older Hoover, they did a tremendous job on DiCaprio. Aside from a few scenes he looked as close to the real man as they could make him. On the complete opposite side of the spectrum was Hammer’s makeup. As an older Tolson, his face looked like it had a blob of plastic thrown on with slits for a mouth and eyes. It unfortunately took away from the movie as I was distracted every time he was on screen.


My biggest issue with the movie was the story. I’m not sure what they had in mind, but to me it seemed like a 2hr, 17 min dump of everything that happened to hoover from the time he began his rise to his death. The lack of focus along with the sometimes awkward jumps back and forth in time made it hard to stay focused and into the story.


In the end I could forgive some of the bad makeup and the acting was brilliant, but the neverending story simply made this movie boring for me. Since I’m so torn, I give J. Edgar a 2.5/5.

If you saw the movie, what did you think?

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