I’m a big Leonardo DiCaprio fan, and there is no doubt he does a great Edgar Hoover. But how much do we need a love story between DiCaprio and Social Network breakout Armie Hammer?
J. Edgar is the biopic of J. Edgar Hoover looking back on his life for his biography. In his early career we see Hoover start off in low ranks, but through his dissatisfaction with how the police handle crime scenes, he quickly rises in Washington. In the several decades he served as head of the FBI, we see several high-profile cases, and the manipulation of his public persona that quickly dominated his life. We also see the gentler side of Hoover, with his possible homosexual relationship with number two man Clyde Tolson (Hammer).
The first half hour of this film was a complete struggle to watch, and while it did get better, there was no doubt I wouldn’t be watching J. Edgar again. To start off, the performances really didn’t have anything wrong besides some bad old age makeup (Tolson was old, he was not a cadaver). But the story just seemed to lag without any real drive in the plot. My biggest “what?” moment was any scene involving Naomi Watts’s character Helen Gandy. The first quarter of the film, she is prominent, and is even proposed to by Edgar. However, the rest of the film, she is still in, but hardly given any notice. No doubt DiCaprio gave a usual stunning performance but it wasn’t enough to get this film re-elected for a second viewing.