I admire Clint Eastwood’s work as a director. Since the 60’s he has made several magnificent, flawless, solid movies in all kinds of genres (and a few horrible bombs too). “J. Edgar” is one of his great ones and something else too; it is a brave movie. I think it takes a lot of courage to make a film that has an utterly unlikeable man as its main character; not an anti-hero, not a bad guy, not the kind of person that appeals to us through our fascination with The Evil, but simply a man you wouldn’t care too much to have dealings with. Eastwood’s Hoover –whatever he may have been in real life—is not a monster or a fabulous monster even, he is just a petty, flawed unlikable man. And he stays that throughout the story, there is never a condescending or sympathetic gesture towards him. But he is also completely human, the portrait is convincing and realistic, and you can recognize your own baser self that comes out when you lower the guard that keeps your civility in place.
I heartily recommend this film to cinephiles. To people who “just” like watching a good movie I can say this is a great one, but be prepared to dislike what you get to see.