'J. Edgar' Review By Corey W.

J. Edgar is a GOOD movie....not a GREAT one. Not the great one we expected, at least.
  • Story
  • Acting
  • Directing
  • Visuals
The wait is finally over. Such a long wait it has been, but was it all worth it? J. Edgar looked to be the one; the performance that would finally win Leo his Oscar, an Oscar he's been deserving of for such a long time. Is it time he finally step upon the winner's stage and give out his "thank-you's", or will fans of one of the best actors of our generation have to wait on another solid performance by the man? Without a doubt, J. Edgar is one of the most well-performed films of the year. Thats the only quality that keeps the film running from the start all the way to the dragged-out ending. The film finds flaw in more than a few aspects, which is something a lot of people weren't expecting, but its at least not the drooling mess it could have turned out to be.

When I say "drooling mess" I only think back on how slow the film started out. The first forty-five minutes to an hour of J. Edgar is the ultimate snoozer, where almost no entertainment is driven toward the audience. It starts out dry and remains that way for a while up until the moment where characters start to feel closer and the story starts to open-up a bit. To get to the point, the film could have easily attracted the viewers to the film a bit differently because the way the movie begins almost caused me to walk out of the theater. Luckily to my effect, J. Edgar drastically picks up in the second half.

J. Edgar looks like it could be this year's Best Picture from the incredibly well-done trailers. Almost every aspect in the trailer is perfect, from the acting to the way the film will pace itself. I wouldn't walk into this film expecting it to be great, but you can at least now only expect something worthy of your time. To be brutally honest, this isn't the type of movie you want to receive a ticket-stub for. Its a film to rent and enjoy in the comfort of your own home. I was certainly uncomfortable watching this at the theater because I had to choice in napping in the chair or not. Yes, I hate to say it, but the first hour will try its best to put you to sleep.

As I already mentioned, however, the second-half of the film is a buzzing alarm-clock that wakes you from your deep sleep. J. Edgar incredibly picks up the pace and restores whatever audience members were thinking of the film beforehand. What really picks up the pace in the film is the strong relationship that Edgar forms with his right-hand man, Clyde. Its the sweet chemistry between the two men that grasped my attention most from the film, believe it or not. Nothing before this complicated entry to the film intrigued my attention as much as Edgar's hidden sexuality. It was dark, but it opened up a lot of emotional doors to the film where the audience could feel for the character. The way that the film portrays Edgar's hidden secrets about his homosexuality was simple, but brilliant because it was what tied everything great about the film together. If the film was to just focus on what we could read in a history book, it'd be as boring as the first hour all the way through. This focus was deeper and certainly better than expected.

Despite some of the reactions this film is receiving, Leonardo DiCaprio deserves himself an Oscar. He without a doubt gives the best performance I've witnessed all year and even though the film may not be perfect, the performance was. Leonardo DiCaprio once again proves that he is one of the best actors of this generation and if he doesn't win an Oscar for his portrayal of J. Edgar then the man may be cursed from ever winning an Oscar in his life. While hearing that DiCaprio is deserving of an Oscar (You can probably tell from the trailers), Armie Hammer also deserves himself an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his role as Clyde. The man gave a very strong performance in last year's hit The Social Network, but here, he proves himself worthy of going places. Hammer's beautiful chemistry with DiCaprio is almost too perfect to be true, and for that, they both deserve Oscar-nominations.

One of the few problems I had with the film was the narration. The only flaw in Leo's performance was the way he delivered each and every line through narration. It was dull, flat, and deliberately annoying. The character at times wouldn't even sound the way he would through face-to-face scenes, and the narration unfortunately moves throughout the entire film which brings it down incredibly. The only thing that could possibly decease Leo's chance at an Oscar is the poor narration, something that could have easily been lighted on.

Another strong issue I had with J. Edgar was the make-up. In the scenes where J. Edgar is supposed to be older, DiCaprio doesn't look so bad but his hands look beyond fake. In fact, he looks exactly like Phillip Seymour Hoffman; it was quite creepy at times. DiCaprio's make-up job wasn't horrible, but it definitely needed some work. The disastrous job, however, goes to the work on Armie Hammer, who looks ridiculous. You can almost tell he's wearing plastic on his face. At times, you wonder to yourself, why didn't the film just cast an older actor for these few scenes? While Hammer does still power-house through these rough times of looking horrible, it was a tough flaw to get passed. Clint Eastwood usually perfects these areas, so I was as shocked as I was disappointed.

J. Edgar may not be perfect, but it has its moments that help keep the movie fashionable and good. Eastwood is a great director, especially for his age, and he proves here that he can direct a great-looking film. The cinematography is great, even though it brings out the horrible make-up jobs a bit more. Through the bad, however, there was always a bit of good to back it up. Leo's incredible performance along with the chemistry he had with Hammer was fascinating, but the film's slow-moving pace does make you wish you had chosen an action-film like Immortals because that would at least be entertaining. The only flaw in performance is whoever played Robert F. Kennedy. It had got to be the worst portrayal of a Kennedy I've ever witnessed in a movie. Without that, all performances in the film would have been flawless. In the end, there is nothing more you can say about the film than the following: J. Edgar is a GOOD movie....not a GREAT one. Not the great one we expected, at least.

Thanks for the read!

-Written by Corey Wood

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Comments (42)

  1. Corey W.

    @XxNickTheFilmCriticXx Despite it not being all that great, I do still hope to see Leo getting a nod.

    3 years agoby @coreyFlag

  2. Nicholaus XX

    @corey -- Great review, sir. While I have yet to see this one, it's a shame that I can no longer look forward to this one actually being a great movie.

    3 years agoby @XxNickTheFilmCriticXxFlag

  3. skywise

    @corey Excellent review man. It seems that the consensus is that its worth the time but not brilliant. Still though, i cant wait to see it.

    3 years agoby @skywiseFlag

  4. Corey W.

    I'm one to believe that they were lovers. Clyde inherited Hoover's money and moved into his home after Edgar's death.

    3 years agoby @coreyFlag

  5. Corey W.

    @kguy Some historians believe their relationship as lovers was official, but others deny it. Like the movie, the two did eat all their meals together and did vacation together. I'm sure that they were. Though...Clyde isn't technically proven to be a homosexual.

    3 years agoby @coreyFlag

  6. K.Guy

    @corey I was actually talking about Kennedy, but Armie was great! Has it ever been official that they were a homosexual couple?

    3 years agoby @kguyFlag

  7. Corey W.

    @moviegeek@kguy The guy just gave an outstanding performance. If it wasn't for his chemistry with Leo, would Leo's performance been as good? I don't think so.

    3 years agoby @coreyFlag

  8. K.Guy

    @moviegeek@corey I JUST mentioned that in my review!

    3 years agoby @kguyFlag

  9. moviegeek

    @corey Me too!

    3 years agoby @moviegeekFlag

  10. SherlockHolmes2009

    @corey Hmm thats good. I may go see it

    3 years agoby @SherlockHolmes2009Flag

  11. Corey W.

    @SherlockHolmes2009 Yeah, I was expecting it to be fantastic too. Luckily, the chemistry between the actors is.

    3 years agoby @coreyFlag

  12. Corey W.

    @moviegeek He was just sooo bad. I loved Armie Hammer in this though! I hope he gets nominated!

    3 years agoby @coreyFlag

  13. SherlockHolmes2009

    @corey I agree that 3 stars is still a good rating but like you said from the trailer I was expecting some fantastic movie but after reading some reviews im now 50/50 on it

    3 years agoby @SherlockHolmes2009Flag

  14. moviegeek

    @corey He was hardly in it, so I really have no opinion :p

    3 years agoby @moviegeekFlag

  15. Corey W.

    @mattbierwagen Yes! Tree of Life is a masterpiece! Surprised I haven't reviewed it...(Opens doc*ment)

    3 years agoby @coreyFlag

  16. Worth5Bucks

    @corey i dont think 3 stars is low. I save the 3 star ratings for 2 things: Movies i enjoy completely but simply dont think they deserve a decent rating, and movies that are technically really good that i didnt enjoy. Either way the movie is worth seeing.

    3 years agoby @mattbierwagenFlag

  17. Worth5Bucks

    @corey lol ya i would be too i reviewed as much as you. And yes im very anticipated in the hobbit, about the same as tdkr actually. But i haven't looked at a single article or preview for tdkr and i dont plan to. With the hobbit, im not as opposed to looking at news because ive read the book. btw have you seen tree of life yet?

    3 years agoby @mattbierwagenFlag

  18. Corey W.

    Why does everyone always think 3 stars is low? The movie is good just nothing I'd give over that. haha. @SherlockHolmes2009

    3 years agoby @coreyFlag

  19. m2

    @corey I would give a decent 2.5. I love slow movies and this one was okay but it was too slow for my taste.lol

    3 years agoby @m2Flag

  20. SherlockHolmes2009

    Damn was looking forward to seeing this. Good review by the way

    3 years agoby @SherlockHolmes2009Flag

  21. Corey W.

    @mattbierwagen Ah, I forgot how anticipated you are for The Hobbit. So far away though! lol. Well, at least we have our conversations on my review boards. It brings my numbers up, which is good, cause I'm a comment-whor*.

    3 years agoby @coreyFlag

  22. Corey W.

    @moviegeek Please tell me that you too hated the Robert F. Kennedy actor. He was horrible! haha. Agreed?

    3 years agoby @coreyFlag

  23. Corey W.

    @m2 Thanks man. Well, what'd you rate it, overall?

    3 years agoby @coreyFlag

  24. Corey W.

    @stoned Thanks man! I hope you've at least played the game already! Its awesome!

    3 years agoby @coreyFlag

  25. TheStonedReviewer

    Great review! Can i just say, lovin the new profile pic, i'll wait till christmas for it though ;)

    3 years agoby @stonedFlag

  26. Corey W.

    @jayaottley Thanks. Ha, some films earlier than us some much later.

    3 years agoby @coreyFlag

  27. Jay.A.Ottley

    @corey Nice review dude, kinda annoyed this has been delayed over here in the UK, but none the less still anticipating to see Leo doing the usual oscar tour-de-force performance

    3 years agoby @jayaottleyFlag

  28. m2

    @corey looks like I liked it a little less then you did but overall great review.

    3 years agoby @m2Flag

  29. ROFLitschristian

    @corey I in all honesty had never heard anything about this film up until lately. Seems like it had so much hype around it. Maybe that's why it missed its mark. Anyways great review as always man.

    3 years agoby @ROFLitschristianFlag

  30. Worth5Bucks

    @corey hah i know, it sucks man, i miss this site. Basically, applying for music schools is my life right now, i've been spending alot of time finishing up my compositions. But ive still been on, i just haven't commented all that much, look for me in Hobbit articles, and in the comment sections of your reviews :P

    3 years agoby @mattbierwagenFlag