ST. LOUIS — I loved “Trumbo.” I am biased. I wanted a career as a screenwriter and I think that Academy Award-winner Dalton Trumbo is one of the greatest screenwriters that has ever lived.
He is responsible for writing more than 69 movies including films like “The Brave One,” “Exodus,” “Spartacus” and “Roman Holiday,” to name a few, which are all classics. Although I disagree with Trumbo’s political views — he was an unabashed Communist, but no one should be treated the way he was by the Congressional Committee on Un-American Activities. The McCarthy era was one of the dark periods of our country’s history.
In 1947, Dalton Trumbo (Bryan Cranston) was Hollywood’s top screenwriter until he and nine other artists were jailed after testifying in front of Congress and were blacklisted by the Hollywood studios for their political beliefs. They were known as “The Hollywood Ten.” “Trumbo” recounts how Dalton used words and wit to expose the absurdity and injustice of the blacklist, which entangled everyone from gossip columnist Hedda Hopper (Helen Mirren) to John Wayne (David James Elliott).
Academy Award-nominee Diane Lane plays Trumbo’s loyal wife, Cleo, and Elle Fanning is his daughter, Niki. Dean O’Gorman plays Kirk Douglas, Michael Stuhlbarg is Edward G. Robinson and Louis C.K. plays Arlen Herd. John Goodman as Frank King provides some comic relief.
Academy Award-winner Mirren steals every scene she is in with her “witchiness,” gorgeous outfits and extravagant hats. I was fascinated by her outfits. Cranston is superb as the title character. The role of Trumbo is a brilliant choice after his award-winning role in the AMC television program, “Breaking Bad.”
“Trumbo” is directed by prolific director Jay Roach, who also directed the Austin Powers series of movies, “Meet the Parents” and “Meet the Fockers.” The screenplay was written by John McNamara, adapted from the book by Bruce Cook. The writing also is Oscar caliber. The script is witty, fast and intense.
This was viewed with a bunch of film critics at the Hi-Pointe Theatre. Several thought this was the best movie that they had seen all year. I will be very disappointed if this isn’t nominated for an Academy Award.
“Trumbo” opens Friday at Plaza Frontenac. Don’t miss this one, it is worth the drive.
The Telegraph’s contributing movie critic Mary Cox lives in Wood River and is a member of the St. Louis Film Critics Association, who also occasionally writes about film-related topics, studied film at the University of California, Los Angeles, and worked in L.A. with various directors and industry professionals. She can be reached at email@example.com. Visit Mary’s website at www.mlcwriter.com.