As the face of law enforcement in America for almost fifty years, J. Edgar Hoover was feared and admired, reviled and revered. But behind closed doors, he held secrets that would have destroyed his image, his career and his life. Under the direction of Clint Eastwood, Leonardo DiCaprio stars in the title role of “J. Edgar,” a drama that explores the public and private life of one of the most powerful, controversial and enigmatic figures of the 20th century.
Leonardo DiCaprio portrays a complicated J. Edgar Hoover, a man who could be tough as nails but cherished his mother and was still living at home with her at age twenty four. He also relied heavily on his Assistant Director Clyde Tolson (Armie Hammer), sharing lunches and dinners and attending horse races with him. Yet, according to this Clint Eastwood-directed version, Tolson cared more for J. Edgar than just in terms of friendship. If so, Hoover never reciprocated those feelings.
DiCaprio does an excellent job, playing the young head of the newly formed FBI (in 1935) and also playing his older self in his later years during the sixties and till his death in 1972. The make-up job is very well done and DiCaprio mirrors Hoover’s idiosyncrasies excellently and it is a nuanced performance. He brings to life the man who used forensics and broadened the power and influence of the FBI during his reign of 37 years. One of the main cases of interest in the film is his handling of the Lindbergh baby kidnapping and subsequently the man charged with the crime.
Unfortunately, strong language is used in the movie in addition to the film containing a sexual scene which crosses our acceptability level for families, and therefore we are unable to award the picture our Dove “Family-Approved” Seal.