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J. Edgar | 2011 | R | - 3.4.5

Biopic of J. Edgar Hoover with Leonardo DiCaprio in the lead role: The first Director of the FBI lead a complicated life as he rose to power, and amid famous raids, G-man comic books and other exploits, Hoover hid secrets with the help of his lifelong friend, Associate FBI Director Clyde Tolson (Armie Hammer) and his long-time secretary (Naomi Watts). Also with Judy Dench, Damon Herriman, Lea Coco, Stephen Root and Jeffrey Donovan. Directed by Clint Eastwood. [2:17]

SEX/NUDITY 3 - We hear a tape recording of a male voice and a woman's voice: he mumbles and she moans loudly and we simultaneously see shadows on a wall of a man and a woman kissing, removing her dress and embracing while standing.
 A man tries to kiss a woman, she pulls away and says they hardly know each other; he kneels and asks her to be his companion and she tells him that she is not interested in marriage.
 A man tells another man that he would like to marry a female film star, the second man becomes angry and asks if they have become physical, the man says yes and a fight begins (please see the Violence/Gore category for more details); at the end of the fight, the second man kisses the first man, who says, "Never do that again" and the second man says, "Don't ever mention our little friend to me again, or you shall be deprived of my company."
 A man tells another man that he cares for him as he squeezes the second man's hand; the second man replies, "I love you too." In the back of a cab, a man reaches over and squeezes the hand of another man. A man tells another man, "I've never needed anyone as I've needed you."
 A boy that cross-dresses is nicknamed Daffy and Daffodil. A man sits on the bed of a now deceased man, reading a love poem and crying, suggesting that the poem was possibly written by the dead man to the second man and hidden. An FBI official reads a love poem purportedly from one woman to another woman; he laughs at the concept of lesbianism. A man puts on a string of his mother's beads and one of her dresses over his clothing, and then looks in a mirror, breaks the beads in his hands and falls to the floor, crying (please see the Violence/Gore category for more details).
 A woman at a nightclub asks a man at her table to dance, he becomes very nervous, says he must go back to work and leaves the nightclub. In background checks read by an FBI official, we hear that two men do not associate with women and a secretary responds that some FBI agents work better without family encumbrances like a wife and children. A man tells his mother that dancing with a woman is humiliating, and she berates him and teaches him to dance. We hear that a foreign woman married a U.S. citizen only to secure citizenship and speak against the government and that she is eventually deported for "Un-American activities and a sham marriage." A man and his mother discuss a boy that cross-dresses and that he was made to stand up in front of the student body while wearing a hoop skirt and blouse; he was humiliated and later committed suicide. A woman tells her son that she would never want a son to be a Daffodil.
 We see several small statues of nude men wrestling, an African woman and a larger statue of a nude male Roman warrior (genitals are visible). On a government office wall, we see carved images of a nude female and nude children (we see the woman's bare breasts without nipples). Two women sitting at a nightclub table wear low-cut dresses that reveal some cleavage. A man lies on his side on the floor beside his bed, shirtless and wearing trousers (his bare shoulder, arm, torso side and abdomen are visible.


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VIOLENCE/GORE 4 - There is a shootout in front of a bank and dead men are shown on the sidewalk with black bullet holes in their bodies and temples. We see the body of a baby, decayed, broken up and blackened; it is in tall grass a few hundreds yards from a family's house.
 A bomb is thrown into a man's home, it explodes, there are flames and clouds of dirt and debris, and the man falls forward from his chair and his wife falls out of bed; children scream from another bedroom and as the man carries them out we see a broken staircase and rubble on the first floor.
 A man fires a machine gun in close-up and we see smoke and hear loud gunfire. An FBI agent shoots 10 holes in an apartment door, kicks it open and several other agents swarm in and look for a criminal; an agent unpins a smoke grenade and tosses it into a closet, it explodes and smokes out a perpetrator, who is arrested.
 In a government raid, one FBI agent announces to his team, "These men are armed and dangerous"; he then distributes dozens of handguns and rifles, the team breaks into a warehouse and punches, kicks and beats foreign citizens for publishing a radical leaflet and they are then taken to jail. In a hotel room, a man punches another man in the jaw and a fight ensues with punching and wrestling until the second man kisses the first and the fight ends (please see the Sex/Nudity category for more details).
 Throughout the film, we see several scenes of FBI agents and policemen armed with handguns and rifles. In old footage, we see FBI agents arresting gangsters and taking them to jail. There are several scenes that depict the arrest of gangsters with guns drawn on both sides. We see a rogue's gallery of crime implements and the death mask of John Dillinger in an FBI display case, which includes handguns, a machine gun, spikes and knives. We see a montage of many government agents taking guns out of drawers and holstering them beneath their jackets.
 After a bombing, we hear that the police found blood on a sidewalk, left by the bomber. A man says that police had compromised a crime scene or the FBI would have found a bomber's finger with an intact fingerprint. We hear that 9 bombs were tossed into the homes of government officials and millionaires on the same night but that no one was seriously injured. We hear that a baby was kidnapped and the crime scene is investigated; it is discovered that a ladder was used to get into the baby's room and that the kidnapper probably fell with the baby, killing it. We see a close-up of a flyer that states to capitalists and the U.S. in general, "We will kill you and your tyrannical institutions."
 In several scenes, a man argues loudly in Congressional Hearings, in public, and at home about gangsters and foreign threats to the U.S. government. A man argues loudly with his assistants about federal agents and has some of the agents fired. A man continually belittles U.S. Attorney Generals among his agents; in one scene he says that his AG needs diapers. A man says that criminals are slimy and wriggling and the FBI needs more power to arrest them. There are several arguments that center on the ineptness of police and detectives that refuse to handle crime scenes and fingerprints correctly. A man storms into a work area and yells.
 There are two eerie nighttime cemetery scenes that show a go-between paying a messenger (his face is covered with a handkerchief) ransom money and one man calls out, "What if the baby is dead?" but no answer is given. A kidnapper is convicted and a death sentence is levied (we do not see the execution).
 An elderly woman dies at home and a doctor closes her eyes as her adult son begins to cry. A man goes home and walks slowly up the stairs to his bedroom while holding his side; the next morning, another man finds him on his side on the floor beside the bed, dead, with open eyes and mouth. A man suffers a stroke, he teeters and falls into his seat; another man calls loudly for an ambulance and we see the stroke victim recovering in a hospital. A stroke victim stutters and another man tells him sharply that he must use good diction and get better; the patient is shown to be very pale and he trembles from the effects of the stroke, and the side of his face is slightly twisted.
 We see several fires atop collapsed buildings and we hear that union workers set them to protest low wages.
 Old film footage in a theater features an actor spitting a beverage on a bartender, slapping a woman in the face, and cramming a grapefruit into her nose; we also see machine gun fire and men fall, without blood.


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LANGUAGE 5 - At least 1 F-word, 2 scatological terms, 3 anatomical terms, 3 mild obscenities, exclamations (shut up), name-calling (foreigners, radicals, communists, Bolsheviks, alien, bad guys, hoodlums, horse face, fools, copper, little man, heartless, fussy, sociopath, vulgar, dog, baby, Sherlock Holmes, science fair project, G-Men, Negro, hacks, opportunist, Daffy), stereotypical references to communists, liberals, conservatives, politicians, International citizens, gangsters, FBI agents, secretaries, Germans, homosexuals, lesbians, marriage, smokers, drinkers, inept police departments, forensics experts, political figures, women, blacks, 1 religious profanity, 6 religious exclamations.


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SUBSTANCE USE - A man and a doctor discuss a medication that helps with energy and controls weight, and a doctor injects something into a man's forearm at work several times and once states that it contains vitamins and a pick-me-up (the substance may be amphetamines). Two nightclub scenes feature glasses of champagne on tables and glasses of alcohol on a bar top while a few men are shown drinking, a man drinks whiskey a couple of times at his home and orders champagne in a nightclub, an elderly woman sips sherry from a glass and we see a decanter of sherry next to her on a table, and a government official instructs his department that none of them will smoke or drink alcohol under penalty of being fired and when one man objects he is fired on the spot. A man is shown smoking a cigarette, a mother asks her adult son if he smokes and he does not answer, a woman says to her adult son that smoking hurt his father, and a man clears out a smoking lounge in a government building and tells several smokers to leave (we see huge clouds of smoke that clear as the doors are opened).


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DISCUSSION TOPICS - Politics, crime, law, false flag operations, hypocrisy, confusion about sexual orientation, authority, responsibility, friendship.

MESSAGE - Even those who are perceived as the good guys have secrets.

CAVEATS

Be aware that while we do our best to avoid spoilers it is impossible to disguise all details and some may reveal crucial plot elements.

We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and older reviews are not as complete & accurate as recent ones; we plan to revisit and correct older reviews as resources and time permits.

Our ratings and reviews are based on the theatrically-released versions of films; on video there are often Unrated, Special, Director's Cut or Extended versions, (usually accurately labelled but sometimes mislabeled) released that contain additional content, which we did not review.


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