Now I will state up front that I have no idea if any of his story is true. I am taking the movie at face value and as we can sometimes do, “suspend all disbelief”.
I will say this, Mr. Hoover led a sad life. Having the knowledge to form and facilitate an government organization, but lacking the courage to stand up to the ones closest to him. I found the relationships between his
family/friend(s) more interesting than his accomplishments in the office. Great care was given to highlight these moments and in fact may have been the director’s intension to do so. What I was not expecting from this movie was to be drawn into this side of his life. So there I was, as Mr. Hoover’s life was unfolding and intrigued/saddened by his personal life.
In the end he died alone, without expressing love, and keeping many secrets of his life to himself. The most beautiful scene in the movie:
Clyde arrives at home of J. Edgar and goes upstairs. Clyde starts to get weak and although frail, there is something else going on. Is it Clyde’s first time in the house or upstairs? He slows his walking to the room. As the door opens and you expect that a body will come into view. This does not happen. You don’t see a body. You don’t hear weeping. You don’t hear a crescendo of music. What you see and hear is Clyde’s joy in the experience of seeing where the man he loved slept–his most intimate of rooms. Close, personal possessions are panned through–Items that J.Edgar held dear, the things he loved most. Clyde’s reaction is of child-like curiosity and wonder. The music tip-toes you through the room, dreamy. He knows why he is there, we know why he is there, but I couldn’t help feasting my eyes much like a child. Brilliant!
It reminds me of the old age old question. “What would you take with you?” What do you hold dear?
In the end, I had no idea that Clint Eastwood directed. I know, I know, I’m slippin’.
C’s rating of J. Edgar: 8/10
K’s rating of J. Edgar: 6/10