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Critic Reviews

Somehow J. Edgar manages to be both epic and empty.

-Tom LongFull Review

Usually the tautest of directors, Clint Eastwood has gone all slack here, allowing his subject to get completely away from him.

-Rick GroenFull Review

Although Hoover's luster faded as his career went on, Eastwood's movie seems wan from the start.

-Stephen WhittyFull Review

Here's that J. Edgar Hoover biopic you asked for, or at least something that meets all the technical requirements to be considered one.

-Eric D. SniderFull Review

Mr. Eastwood's ponderous direction, a clumsy script by Dustin Lance Black and ghastly slatherings of old-age makeup all conspire to put the story at an emotional and historical distance. It's a partially animated waxworks.

-Joe MorgensternFull Review

How believable is DiCaprio? When I first heard he had been cast as Hoover, I couldn't think of another actor physically less likely to pull it off. But he's surprisingly good.

-Peter RainerFull Review

Within the sprawling biopic that is J. Edgar beats the heart of a love story.

-Chris VognarFull Review

For all its virtues -- or, perhaps, because of them -- J. Edgar is a disappointment.

-Charlie McCollumFull Review

This far-from-perfect film is hobbled by uneven performances and a script studded with historical bullet points. But it's a strong tribute to Eastwood's personal vision.

-Colin CovertFull Review

J. Edgar is an arduous trek through the history books, a gloomy glide down the marble halls of a Washington institution.

-Steven ReaFull Review

That "J. Edgar'' never ultimately convinces - that at times it's quite entertainingly bad - can be blamed on both an unfocused script and the project's very bigness.

-Ty BurrFull Review

[DiCaprio] digs into the role of Hoover with relish and commitment

-J. R. JonesFull Review

"J. Edgar" too often feels like the rough draft of the great movie it could have been; a character sketch, not quite a portrait.

-Moira MacDonaldFull Review

DiCaprio wrings truth out of a cipher. The Hoover of both headline and whispers comes into sharp relief in this Oscar-beckoning performance.

-Peter HowellFull Review

Whether unintentionally or by design, the movie never really makes a case either for or against the troubled figure at its center.

-Dana StevensFull Review

This may be a closety film about a closety character, but the tensions between Eastwood's direction and the script he's directing keep us off-guard in an intriguing way. The results, whatever one thinks of them, may be square, but they're all of a piece.

-Michael PhillipsFull Review

J. Edgar eloquently argues its case by skipping through Hoover's entire career, from the founding of the Bureau in 1935 to his death in 1972.

-Rene RodriguezFull Review

One of the worst ideas anybody's ever had, a mendacious, muddled, sub-mediocre mess that turns some of the most explosive episodes of the 20th century into bad domestic melodrama...

-Andrew O'HehirFull Review

Eastwood, forsaking his deliberate rhythms for something speedier and wordier, turns J. Edgar into a dramatic essay about how the law and repression, heroism and corruption, fused in Hoover.

-Owen GleibermanFull Review

Despite being buried in layers of prosthetic latex, DiCaprio is a roaring wonder as J. Edgar Hoover. Even when the film trips on its tall ambitions, you can't shake it off.

-Peter TraversFull Review

Clint Eastwood's "J. Edgar" is a lumbering miscalculation, a slow and clumsy re-think of the late F.B.I. founder J. Edgar Hoover's life and career that views his him through the lens of his alleged homosexuality.

-Roger MooreFull Review

Fatally cautious.

-Ella TaylorFull Review

It is, quite simply, a poorly conceived and constructed film.

-Mark RabinowitzFull Review

It is flawed but ultimately captivating.

-Bill GoodykoontzFull Review

DiCaprio wears the persona of Hoover with ease, again reminding audiences that the young man who made so many girls swoon with Titanic has grown into an actor of great range and capability.

-James BerardinelliFull Review

The film manages to be both sensational and stodgy, like a guided tour that goes on until it drones.

-Richard CorlissFull Review

DiCaprio may well receive a Best Actor Oscar for his tour de force as the conflicted FBI director -- greatly abetted by Hammer (who played the Winklevoss twins in "The Social Network'') in his first major role as the flamboyant but frustrated Tolson.

-Lou LumenickFull Review

Too ambiguous, too gentle and too noncommittal to get the job done.

-Mick LaSalleFull Review

As a period biopic, "J. Edgar" is masterful. Few films span seven decades this comfortably.

-Roger EbertFull Review

"J. Edgar" is a somber, enigmatic, darkly fascinating tale, and how could it be otherwise?

-Kenneth TuranFull Review


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