“Trumbo” Film Review

It’s kind of a shame that Trumbo didn’t receive more audience praise last year.  The film is an entertaining film with an excellent performance from Bryan Cranston.  It’s sad that the studios didn’t do a better job of advertising it.

Based on a true story, the film also stars some top notch actors/actresses like Helen Mirren, Diane Lane, John Goodman, Michael Stuhlbarg, Louis C.K. and Elle Fanning.  It’s directed by Jay Roach (Meet the Parents, Meet the Fockers, Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery) and written by John McNamara.

The film takes place in 1947, and tells the story of Dalton Trumbo (Cranston), a Hollywood screenwriter who was at the top of his game until he and other artists were jailed and blacklisted for their Communist beliefs.  Trumbo was known for writing Oscar winning films like Roman Holiday and The Brave One.  After he did time in jail, Trumbo wrote these two films under fake names to stay hidden from people who hated him like John Wayne (played by David James Elliott) and gossip columnist Hedda Hopper (played by Helen Mirren).

At one point in his life, Trumbo was approached by Kirk Douglas (played by Dean O’Gorman) to write both Spartacus and Exodus and publicly credits Trumbo as the screenwriter, even though Hopper tried her best persuade Douglas to drop Trumbo.  It’s an entertaining film about a man just trying to do the work that he loves without being judged for what he believes in, and never giving up in the process.

Bryan Cranston, nominated for Best Actor for his portrayal, is spectacular in the roles. I cannot wait to see what else is in store for him outside TV shows.  He delivers each line with such meaning and gusto, that makes him the real star of this film.  Helen Mirren has been nominated for a few awards over the last season including The Golden Globes, but I thought this wasn’t her most amazing performance.  Yes, she is good as always, but not wonderful.  Also, I must say Diane Lane never ages and is beautiful as ever.

Director Jay Roach is known for directing comedies, but this is his second time dipping into something more political after directing the Sarah Palin HBO film, Game Change. I think these dramatic turns work in his favor, as both Game Change and Trumbo have gained attention in numerous award shows.  I think where the film struggles sometimes is in the pacing of the screenplay from John McNamara.  It’s a solid screenplay, but it tends to drag on in some moments that could have been cut.


Trumbo is Bryan Cranston’s film, and he deserves the Oscar nomination that he did receive.  It’s an entertaining film, and a great step up for director Jay Roach. Rated R.

3 and a half diamonds


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