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Trumbo 

Wednesday, Nov 11 2015
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Jay Roach's biopic  Trumbo  works as a history lesson about the Hollywood Blacklist, but less so as a satisfying movie, falling prey to the standard trap of trying to fit too many decades into one feature film. Dalton Trumbo (Bryan Cranston) was the most famous of the screenwriters known as the Hollywood Ten, marginalized and jailed for their Communist sympathies and/or for refusing to name names. The film follows Dalton and his main persecutor, columnist Hedda Hopper (Helen Mirren), from the late 1940s through the collapse of the Blacklist in the early 1960s. It's a period that should be remembered — and which George Clooney's Good Night, and Good Luck does more effectively — but the often-hamfisted Trumbo doesn't really pick up steam until into its second act, and unfortunately rushes through the most interesting Spartacus/Exodus era. The always-excellent Cranston finds the dignity in Dalton's frequent humiliation, and Diane Lane does her best with a thankless role of his wife Cleo. Speaking of whom, movie producers need to stop treating "she never remarried" as a badge of honor for the hero's widow, because it would have been perfectly fine if Cleo had indeed remarried in the 33 (!) years she survived Dalton after his death in 1976. It wasn't the 1950s anymore, thank goodness.

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Sherilyn Connelly

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