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Trumbo (2007)

tomatometer

82

Average Rating: 6.8/10
Reviews Counted: 55
Fresh: 45 | Rotten: 10

Trumbo celebrates the life and work of blacklisted screenwriter Dalton Trumbo with measures of humor and sadness.

85

Average Rating: 7.1/10
Critic Reviews: 20
Fresh: 17 | Rotten: 3

Trumbo celebrates the life and work of blacklisted screenwriter Dalton Trumbo with measures of humor and sadness.

audience

76

liked it
Average Rating: 2.6/5
User Ratings: 35,806

My Rating

Movie Info

A documentary adaptation of the popular regional theatrical monologue -- in which such heavyweights as Paul Newman, Nathan Lane, and Joe Mantegna essayed the lead on various occasions -- Trumbo recounts the life and times of legendary Hollywood scribe-turned-HUAC scapegoat Dalton Trumbo. As with its source production, the film takes as its base material highly personal, detailed, and emotive letters written by Dalton Trumbo to his son, Christopher; the latter, in turn, molded the missives into a

PG-13,

Documentary, Television

Sep 15, 2009

$28.1k

Samuel Goldwyn Films

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All Critics (57) | Top Critics (21) | Fresh (45) | Rotten (10) | DVD (1)

The transporting power of this experience is in the passionate and almost outlandishly eloquent verbal expression Trumbo poured into his correspondence, and the vividly American principles he defends.

November 10, 2008 Full Review Source: Film.com
Film.com
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It will serve as a fine entry point for younger auds interested in learning about theprice paid by moviemakers and their families swept up in the 1950s anti-Communist net.

October 18, 2008 Full Review Source: Variety
Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The film is an enlightening recap of '50s Red Scare politics, and a parade of actors giving meaningful, earnest readings of Trumbo's speeches and letters.

October 18, 2008 Full Review Source: Newsday
Newsday
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's a pleasure to meet a truly moral man in a documentary that rightly heralds his name.

October 18, 2008 Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A ousing documentary as ornery, orotund and captivating as its subject.

October 18, 2008 Full Review Source: Philadelphia Inquirer
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Although it glosses over a few relevant details, Trumbo also functions as a passionate defense of truth from a writer who embodied all of the virtues that America claims to value.

September 12, 2008 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The silver lining to 13 years of being blacklisted are all those incredible letters that we can now enjoy for their deft but basic truths.

May 26, 2013 Full Review Source: The Patriot Ledger
The Patriot Ledger

Like the great artist he is Trumbo's work speaks as loudly today as it did 50 years ago. Perhaps we should all listen.

September 13, 2009 Full Review Source: PopMatters
PopMatters

A portrait of Dalton Trumbo, the writer who defied HUAC. Joan Allen, Paul Giamatti, Liam Neeson, David Strathairn and Donald Sutherland, among others, read excerpts from Trumbo's letters. Moving and compelling. Must see.

May 27, 2009 Full Review Source: About.com
About.com

Does a fine job of showing the emotional and financial toll the decadelong blacklist (plus a year's imprisonment for contempt of Congress) took on Trumbo and his family as he tried to scrape by writing anonymously.

January 9, 2009 Full Review Source: Oregonian
Oregonian

Trumbo is hurt by an unwillingness to actually explore Trumbo's own politics and delve into his actual beliefs about communism, Stalin or Marxist ideology.

October 18, 2008 Full Review Source: Screen International
Screen International

An amazing primer on how to stand by your principles even as the unprincipled knock you around.

October 18, 2008 Full Review Source: Cinematical
Cinematical

As the story of a fierce, beleaguered individualist, 'Trumbo' is stirring and informative, though perhaps not as thorough as it could be.

September 28, 2008 Full Review Source: San Francisco Examiner
San Francisco Examiner

Dalton Trumbo showed that it was possible, even within the Hollywood system, to deal seriously with issues like freedom and personal responsibility.

September 19, 2008 Full Review Source: Playback:stl
Playback:stl

Of all the many narrative films and documentaries that have been made about the Hollywood blacklist, none has more intimately captured what it must have been like to live through that sordid time.

September 11, 2008 Full Review Source: Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Trumbo was initiated by two of Trumbo's children, but their attempt to personalize the film isn't quite personal enough.

August 22, 2008 Full Review Source: St. Paul Pioneer Press
St. Paul Pioneer Press

... a beautifully directed and passionate homage to the dignity of one man against the indignity of the times.

August 19, 2008 Full Review Source: culturevulture.net
culturevulture.net

Askin's dramatic camera angles are somewhat awkward, but the superb performances and the words eventually win out.

August 14, 2008 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

Audience Reviews for Trumbo

I don't often seek out documentaries myself but this one is well worth the extra effort if you can find it. A compelling narrative about a courageous and extremely intelligent human being.
September 19, 2009
flixsterman
Randy Tippy

Super Reviewer

In the beginning, there was the word and in the end, there was only the word, which in the case of the documentary
"Trumbo" are the letters and screenplays penned by famed writer Dalton Trumbo, one of the Hollywood 10, held in contempt of Congress(Not to be confused with contempt for Congress) for refusing to cooperate with the House Un-American Activities Committee(HUAC) and jailed for a year.(Ring Lardner Jr. said he would have hated himself in the morning if he had.) After being blacklisted for ten years as a result and struggling to find any work, Trumbo's first onscreen credit was for "Exodus," due to Otto Preminger and his enormous brass balls.(Even with his liberal credentials, Preminger was never called before HUAC because as bullies, they were deathly afraid of him. It would have been funny if he had been, though.) Unlike I had originally presumed, this was only the first of many bricks in the blacklist to be taken down.

That's not the only misconception that "Trumbo" seeks to correct, although it confuses HUAC with Senator Joe McCarthy. They were two separate entities, amongst the many red baiters out to ruin people in the 1950's. In front of the committee, the writers pled the first, not the fifth amendment, because they felt had done nothing wrong by freely associating with the Communist Party which was the only political organization active in political change at the time. The documentary seeks to illustrate Trumbo's role in these events by interviews(some with him before he died in 1976), archival footage, film clips and actors reading Trumbo's letters which is a mixed success at best. This takes the movie out of the realm of being a documentary and into a performance piece(Actually, this was adapted from a play). The best are Nathan Lane reading the only positive letter ever written from father to son on the subject of masturbation and Paul Giamatti reading a letter to the phone company. All of which provides a complete portrait of the writer as a cantankerous soul(nice people generally do not usually make good fighters). But for the best insight on the blacklist, check out "The Front."
August 13, 2010
Harlequin68
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

Fascinating man being given a not-quite-as-fascinating-as-he-is documentary treatment. But still, an amazing story.
September 9, 2008
Jeff Talbott

Super Reviewer

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