“This is going to sound weird, and may not even make grammatical sense, but I didn’t want to want to watch this movie. I’d gotten the sense that it was this tiny little indie that would not see very wide release, or get much notice except for the fact that it existed and has an amazing cast. My movie schedule gets pretty full at this time of the year between awards fare and those meant to pack in the theaters during the holidays. I walked into a theater as it was playing the trailer for Trumbo, and I didn’t allow myself to watch it, hyper focusing on settling into my seat. But of course, as the release date neared, chatter picked up, and I heard some positive things about it. Okay, maybe I”ll see it if it’s convenient. Then I caught the trailer again and actually watched it. Huh, this looks kinda interesting. Fine. It’s on the list.
Alright, this actually was a pretty great movie. For one, I do simply love movies about movies, and this was a long hard look at a particular era. The story itself was so fascinating and timely. The first half of the film deals with screenwriter Dalton Trumbo and the persecution he faced for his political beliefs, specifically in communism. Because of the animosity at the time with Russia, American communists found themselves under attack. In trying to exercise his political freedom, Trumbo eventually finds himself thrown in prison. The second half is about the Hollywood blacklist. Trumbo and his confederates were disallowed from working in Hollywood, for fear that they would try and push their politics. He has to find ways to work around the system in order to maintain his employment, and in the process writes some of the greatest screenplays in Hollywood history.
This truly was an education in Hollywood history. I recognized many of the films being named dropped, and had even seen a few (mostly thanks to my AFI project a few years ago). I kinda wished I had even more context and knew some of those classic films better: Spartacus, Roman Holiday, The Brave One, Exodus. The story could have gone and and on and I would have sat there glued to the screen. The discrimination issue was also absorbing because it parallels so many of our debates going on in our country today. I don’t wanna be a downer and go into detail on how and why, but I def recommend watching this with an open mind and heart.
Oh, and lest I bury the lead, Trumbo is played by one of the greatest actors of our generation, Bryan Cranston. His performance is so full of life and nuance, he really does remind us exactly why he’s one of the best. Fantastic supporting cast as well: Helen Mirren, Diane Lane,Louis CK, Alan Tudyk (srsly, if you had told me earlier he was in it, I wouldn’t have resisted as much), John Goodman. Everyone bringing their A game, as if we’d have expected any less from this crowd.
Trumbo – \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/”