Admirably portrayed by Leonardo DiCaprio, Hoover is the first director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) of the United States in 1935. He becomes a very powerful persona in America, fighting crime and maintaining a strong foothold against radicals. He institutionalizes the FBI as an anti-crime agency, and among his commendable contributions are the integration of finger prints as identifying marks and the centralization of forensic laboratories.
Hoover’s position of power is infamously stained by the rumors that he is a homosexual and that his Associate Director Clyde Tolson (Armie Hammer) is his secret lover. Though the suggestion remains unconfirmed to this day, the film shows Hoover sharing intimate “moments” with Tolson, who eventually becomes his closest confidant and lifelong companion.
Hoover remains publicly single for the rest of his life, with only two women who play significant roles. Hoover is very close with his mother (Judi Dench), who dislikes men who are ‘daffodils’, and he enjoys the lifelong loyalty of his secretary who always guards his secret files.
J. Edgar has been met with mixed reviews. There are various criticisms, some of which lament the lack of a coherent narrative, the film’s ambiguity, and a lack of passion. But, there are just as many who applaud Clint Eastwood’s direction and the masterful, enigmatic nature of the film. So, which is the more accurate review? You’ll have to see it and decide…