“In 1947, Dalton Trumbo was Hollywood’s top screenwriter, until he and other artists were jailed and blacklisted for their political beliefs.”
Seeing the first trailer for this film, I was really looking forward to it because Bryan Cranston was leading. It looked like It had the potential to get some Oscar buzz and that’s what’s ended up happening! I felt like I would get a bit bored with the source material since I didn’t find much interest with politics through movies. I also never heard of Dalton Trumbo, and being a film fan, yes shame on me right?! Okay, on with writing this review!
The main draw for me was Bryan Cranston. I was really intrigued to see what he would bring to the character and I absolutely loved his performance. He gave us two masterful performances that became iconic characters through Malcolm in the Middle(Hal) and Breaking Bad(Walter White). Seeing him in those shows, I was worried that he would be one of those characters again. I was extremely impressed because he definitely was not.
For me, all I saw was Trumbo, which is awesome. Cranston is so versatile he just grabbed my attention the second he shows up on screen.
Diane Lane, who plays his wife, was a pleasant surprise in this film. Although her role is minimal, it’s very powerful in the sense of motivating/altering Trumbo’s actions. She felt like a check and balances to Trumbo’s character and that was intriguing to watch.
The chemistry between her and Cranston also took me off guard because it felt so genuine. The rest of the cast gave wonderful performances as well.
I loved the story. I have no idea how they did it, but they actually made me invested with Communism vs. America. It was fascinating to see how involved the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) was involved during this time. I never knew about the blacklist or reasons why writers were blacklisted and they made that part of the narrative entertaining.
Seeing the historical background, movies, and actors introduced throughout the film in a subtle manner was wonderful.
After watching the movie, I researched the actors, movies, and directors mentioned. The background information was just as how the movie portrayed it, which was handled very well.
I loved the messaged I interpreted from this film. What I got from it was that an individual must fight for their rights and what they believe in. Cranston brought so many layers and passion to this character. One of my favorite lines that he delivers is during his debate with John Wayne when he was being accused of being a traitor. Trumbo said, “We both have the right to be wrong.” I loved how calm Trumbo would be with the publi, especially since they despised him. He was within the lines of a passive representative of the communist party and radical.
I noticed that relationships were important. For Trumbo, the relationship he had with his government and film companies were his priority. Throughout the story, we get to see other relationships such as allies, enemies, and family start to deteriorate. It was emphasized that beliefs are important, but it shouldn’t stray me away from the people I care about.
I thought Trumbo was impressive, not amazing. Sometimes during the film, it was hard for me to follow. I would lose complete focus when issues where brought up that I felt weren’t set up very well. It was confusing at times to determine which characters agreed with Trumbo when there was consistent change in their positions.
Several scenes could have been cut from the movie, and several scenes were slow burners. The pacing could have been better.
Helen Mirren is a wonderful actress, but I couldn’t help but notice her true motives as a character. I just felt that she was there only to have someone obviously oppose Cranston. Louie C.K. was in this film as well and he was the only person that took me out of the film. It’s not because he was bad, it just felt like I was watching an episode of Louie C.K. and it didn’t fit in the film.
Overall, I enjoyed Trumbo more than I expected. It was a great homage to classic filmmakers, writers, and political beliefs/tension during that era. I loved Cranston’s performance, how intriguing the story was, and the message it embraced. Some things could have been done better, but this was a great movie. My rating for this film is 8/10!