J. Edgar Reviews

  • Clint Eastwood's biopic of J. Edgar Hoover has elements of a good drama, but merely brushes over the various controversies in a suprisingly humdrum narrative.

    Julian Roman — MovieWeb

  • Eastwood, forsaking his deliberate rhythms for something speedier and wordier, turns J. Edgar into a dramatic essay about how the law and repression, heroism and corruption, fused in Hoover.

    Owen Gleiberman — Entertainment Weekly

  • 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.

    Manohla Dargis — New York Times

  • The film ages DiCaprio convincingly, Hammer less so. Still, Hammer almost steals the show. While DiCaprio has some noteworthy scenes, it's tough to forget it's the actor playing Hoover. In contrast, Hammer and Watts disappear into more subtle roles.

    Claudia Puig — USA Today

  • That "J. Edgar'' never ultimately convinces - that at times it's quite entertainingly bad - can be blamed on both an unfocused script and the project's very bigness.

    Ty Burr — Boston Globe

  • Although hardly flawless, Eastwood's biopic is his richest, most ambitious movie since the Letters From Iwo Jima-Flags of Our Fathers duo, if not Unforgiven.

    J. Hoberman — Village Voice

  • Leonardo DiCaprio, grounded and sure, has commitment to spare. His portrayal of Hoover is undeniably terrific.

    Joe Neumaier — New York Daily News

  • Mr. Eastwood's ponderous direction, a clumsy script by Dustin Lance Black and ghastly slatherings of old-age makeup all conspire to put the story at an emotional and historical distance. It's a partially animated waxworks.

    Joe Morgenstern — Wall Street Journal

  • Within the sprawling biopic that is J. Edgar beats the heart of a love story.

    Chris Vognar — Dallas Morning News

  • For all its rough edges, J. Edgar is finally a thought-provoking emotion picture of deep sadness, a far-ranging elegy disguised as a historical drama.

    Glenn Kenny — MSN Movies

  • The film moves fast, but Eastwood's touch is light and sure, his judgment sound, the moments of pathos held just long enough. And he cast the right star as his equivocal hero-fool.

    David Denby — New Yorker

  • As a period biopic, "J. Edgar" is masterful. Few films span seven decades this comfortably.

    Roger Ebert — Chicago Sun-Times

  • This may be a closety film about a closety character, but the tensions between Eastwood's direction and the script he's directing keep us off-guard in an intriguing way. The results, whatever one thinks of them, may be square, but they're all of a piece.

    Michael Phillips — Chicago Tribune

  • [DiCaprio] digs into the role of Hoover with relish and commitment

    J. R. Jones — Chicago Reader

  • J. Edgar is an arduous trek through the history books, a gloomy glide down the marble halls of a Washington institution.

    Steven Rea — Philadelphia Inquirer

  • This far-from-perfect film is hobbled by uneven performances and a script studded with historical bullet points. But it's a strong tribute to Eastwood's personal vision.

    Colin Covert — Minneapolis Star Tribune

  • Somehow J. Edgar manages to be both epic and empty.

    Tom Long — Detroit News

  • It is flawed but ultimately captivating.

    Bill Goodykoontz — Arizona Republic

  • As a colorful chapter in American infamy, it's a story worth telling in a better, more suspenseful film, but J. Edgar does not hang together.

    Rex Reed — New York Observer

  • True to Eastwood's understated nature, J. Edgar offers the "tasteful" treatment of such potentially salacious subject matter, though a more outre Oliver Stone-like approach might have made for a livelier film.

    Peter Debruge — Variety

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