J Edgar

Theatrical Release: November 11, 2011
J Edgar


As the face of law enforcement in America for almost fifty years, J. Edgar Hoover was feared and admired, reviled and revered. But behind closed doors, he held secrets that would have destroyed his image, his career and his life. Under the direction of Clint Eastwood, Leonardo DiCaprio stars in the title role of “J. Edgar,” a drama that explores the public and private life of one of the most powerful, controversial and enigmatic figures of the 20th century.

Dove Review

Leonardo DiCaprio portrays a complicated J. Edgar Hoover, a man who could be tough as nails but cherished his mother and was still living at home with her at age twenty four. He also relied heavily on his Assistant Director Clyde Tolson (Armie Hammer), sharing lunches and dinners and attending horse races with him. Yet, according to this Clint Eastwood-directed version, Tolson cared more for J. Edgar than just in terms of friendship. If so, Hoover never reciprocated those feelings.

DiCaprio does an excellent job, playing the young head of the newly formed FBI (in 1935) and also playing his older self in his later years during the sixties and till his death in 1972. The make-up job is very well done and DiCaprio mirrors Hoover’s idiosyncrasies excellently and it is a nuanced performance. He brings to life the man who used forensics and broadened the power and influence of the FBI during his reign of 37 years. One of the main cases of interest in the film is his handling of the Lindbergh baby kidnapping and subsequently the man charged with the crime.

Unfortunately, strong language is used in the movie in addition to the film containing a sexual scene which crosses our acceptability level for families, and therefore we are unable to award the picture our Dove “Family-Approved” Seal.

Content Description

Faith: None
Integrity: None
Sex: A character watches a film of a couple who begins to have sex in a hotel room and although nothing explicit is seen several groans and sexual noises are heard; President John F. Kennedy is said to have had an affair with a woman; a male character kisses Hoover on the mouth for several seconds and Hoover is stunned and tells the man to never do that again; the mention of a First Lady who received a lesbian love letter.
Language: JC-1; G/OMG-1; F-1; C**ksu*ker-2; a First Lady is referred to as a "horseface".
Violence: A bloody dead corpse is seen in Viet Nam; A baby is kidnapped although it's mentioned and not seen; the skeletal remains of a baby are seen; a fist fight in which a character has a bloody lip; arrests are made and there is a shoot-out scene with police officers and several officers die; mention of the Kennedy assassination.
Drugs: Several scenes of drinking wine and champagne; night clubs; the smoking of cigarettes and a cigar.
Nudity: Cleavage; shirtless men; a corpse is seen on the floor with the upper half of the man's body being seen but not his face; on a wall decoration an artistic rendering of a woman, made of some stone-like material, shows her naked breasts.
Other: Political cover-ups; betrayal; files are destroyed; mention of the civil rights movement; a racist letter is written and a character hopes Martin Luther King Jr. will turn down the Nobel Peace Prize he wins.


Company: Warner Brothers
Director: Clint Eastwood
Producer: Brian Grazer
Genre: Drama
Runtime: 137 min.
Reviewer: Edwin L. Carpenter