Sunday, November 13, 2011

Love Story

I was expecting an epic biopic when I walked in "J. Edgar," and what I saw was one of the most tender love stories I have seen in a long time. I don't always like Clint Eastwood's directorial efforts, but I like this movie more than I disliked it. Working with Dustin Lance Black - Dirty Harry and WeHo Queen working together - they have crafted an uneven film, but the highs of it, for me, makes up for the lows. The "straight" part of it - how Mr. Hoover built FBI fromt he ground up - is too muddled. Some of the cases blend into each other, and at times it bordered on dull. I felt that Mr. Black's work on that part of teh script seemed perfunctory, like he was just trying to put pieces academically, without emotional investment in them. However, when it came to the personal - yes, queer - part of the story, the film became more vivid and colorful. The relationship between J. Edgar Hoover and Clyde Tolson is a love that not only can dare nto speak its name, it seems like it's also one they can't act on even behind closed doors. Or did they? We'll never know, I guess. But what is shown explicitly here is the love they showed for and with each other. One may not define them as lovers, partners, significant others, but I think everyone can see the depth of their relationship. Leonardo DiCaprio is fantastic here - a fully realized performance that covers every emotion possible. Give him the Oscar now. But I thought ne should give special mention to Armie Hammer, who played Tolson. In each knowing glance, timid smile, he humanizes the whole movie. I will never forget those last tender scenes between Hoover and Tolson. I am still thinking about it right now, half a day after seeing the movie. "J Edgar's" core is just another love story, but it is a very powerful one.

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