In recent years, rumors (and plenty of evidence) have surfaced regarding the sexuality of J. Edgar Hoover. Was he gay? If not 100%, he certainly put the “bi” in FBI. Now, J. Edgar, a captivating new film from director Clint Eastwood, adds further validity to the claims.
What’s so remarkable about this film is how Hoover is portrayed, warts and all, without resorting to the type of sensationalism that is becoming increasingly prevalent in everything from news reporting to moviemaking. Instead, Eastwood paints a detailed portrait of one of American history’s most fascinating and powerful men. The notion that he was hiding secret homosexual desires only adds to the mystique of his legend.
In the starring role, Leonardo DiCaprio delivers a subtle yet powerful performance, demonstrating the frequent pain of his existence, including an intuitive mother who pointedly tells him she’d rather have a dead son than a daffodil.
Perhaps that’s what motivated him to excel in his role as head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which ultimately led him into the arms of what many believe to be his lover – or at least one very dedicated constant companion, Clyde Tolson (portrayed by the incredibly sexy Armie Hammer). Armie, you can waterboard us any day – as long as it’s on your washboard abs.
J. Edgar is one of those fastidious Hollywood films that truly captures the finer details and nuances of a bygone era. It’s fascinating to witness how absolute power in certain facets of government can lead to corruption, which even in the name of the greater good can alter history forever.
Plus, it’s got a man in a dress.
Opens today in select cities. Everywhere Friday.
Running time: 137 minutes
Photo courtesy of Warner Bros.