Hoover biopic, a resounding success


Photo courtesy of IMDB.com

Savannah Sawyer
Assistant Features Editor

Leonardo DiCaprio is one of my favorite actors of all time. I think it is safe to say a lot of people, especially a lot of females out there, will agree with me on this one. Add newcomer Armie Hammer into the mix and Director Clint Eastwood and you are certain to have yourself a surefire hit.

“J. Edgar” started out with quite the bang, literally, and it drew me in from the start.

In order to fully understand the film perhaps I should give you a quick look into who J. Edgar Hoover actually was.

Hoover was head of the FBI from 1924 up until he died in 1972. There are a lot of tidbits of information out there, such as he never married and lived with his mother until she died, all of which are covered in the film, making people believe they know who he was though he remained quite the private person.

Once Hoover passed away, his estates went to a lifelong friend and coworker, Clyde Tolson, played by Armie Hammer, who was believed to be Hoover’s life partner.

This was ironic because Hoover wouldn’t allow gays, women or blacks to join the FBI simply because he wanted to have the best team he could possibly assemble.

He held his position with the FBI for 48 years, gathering information about public figures, such as information about their sex lives, and holding it over them to keep his job as well as his personal life under wraps.

Files on Hoover were destroyed upon his death and no one will ever know what they entailed.

Under many administrations, he was considered to be the second most powerful man in the government.

The film itself touches on everything mentioned above and allows you to learn about the man who started the FBI.

Hoover is also known for his prejudices, of which he had many. That’s why I believe DiCaprio did such a great job. He took one of the most aggressive individuals in history and made him into a character you could not wait to learn more about.

This film was particularly interesting to me because, while it tells the story of a gay man, the fact that he was homosexual wasn’t the point the plot line revolved around, which is a new concept to the film industry.

I was also pleased with the sets, costumes and makeup for the film. The transition was smooth from year to year as the men grew older and the decades changed.

I was also impressed with Hammer’s work in the film. He is still relatively new to the movie business. You might have caught him in “The Social Network” as the Winklevoss twins (yes, he played both roles), and to be working along side DiCaprio is quite the accomplishment in such a young career and he did it well.

Throughout the movie, there are only three people of importance in Hoover’s life, Tolson, his mother, played by Judi Dench, and his secretary Helen Grandy, who is played by Naomi Watts.

Although the film did not get any nominations at The Academy Awards, it was nominated at other awards shows this season.

DiCaprio was nominated for Best Actor at the Golden Globe Awards for this role and both he and Hammer were nominated at the Screen?Actors Guild Awards. DiCaprio was nominated for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in Leading Role and Hammer for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role. Neither of them won in their category.

Dustin Lance Black, who also wrote the movie “Milk,” wrote “J. Edgar” and Clint Eastwood directed the film.