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Leonardo DiCaprio gives a predictably powerhouse performance, but J. Edgar stumbles in all other departments with cheesy makeup, poor lighting, confusing narrative, and humdrum storytelling.
All Critics (238)
| Top Critics (49)
| Fresh (101)
| Rotten (137)
| DVD (6)
The Hoover material is ugly and very American, and it might have made an authentic monster story. But the picture offered is muddled, cautious, and at cross purposes.
The effect of Hoover on America itself is largely ignored, its speculations are cramped, and its actors hampered with plastic, padding and wigs.
A pleasing, intelligent film happy to describe Hoover's behaviour as monstrous but too balanced and searching to damn him as a monster.
A laboured, morally questionable portrait of the would-be power broker that, moreover, is badly undermined by some dubious special-effects decisions.
Somehow J. Edgar manages to be both epic and empty.
Usually the tautest of directors, Clint Eastwood has gone all slack here, allowing his subject to get completely away from him.
J. Edgar is moving and informative, but more often, it seems trapped between wanting to illuminate and wanting to be discreet.
[J. Edgar Hoover] is brought to life... by DiCaprio, in a surprisingly mature performance.
Underwhelming performances, a lacklustre script and a pervading sense of drudgery prohibits J. Edgar from ever being truly engaging.
The acting is wonderful, as one would expect, but the story lacks punch.
Dominating almost every scene, DiCaprio is an extremely attractive actor, but while perfectly capable of projecting Hoover's occasionally nutty side, he has far too much leading-man charm to make an audience shudder.
Eastwood's sure-handed direction, Black's time-shifting storytelling and the stellar performances make "J. Edgar" worth watching.
A complete disaster that portrays Hoover as a selfish, insecure and intolerant man but we never find out who he really was. Besides, the makeup is atrocious, while the overly desaturated cinematography and dragging pace keep the audience even more emotionally distant.
Great performances by DiCaprio and Armie Hammer. The film is put together well.
A very believable portrait of a very unhappy person who could never accept himself. Excellent film, well written and acted, with DiCaprio giving an outstanding performance. The "aging make-up" of the main characters is rather poor, in my opinion, though. However, the overall quality of the film made me forgive that thanks to Clint Eastwood's style of directing....
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