J. Dench

Doesn’t Judi Dench ever rest?

I went to see the film ‘J. Edgar’ and there she was again. This makes the 4th film I’ve seen her in this year: Jane Eyre, The Pirates of The Caribbean 4, My Week With Marilyn and now J. Edgar.

No offense Judi, but I’m tired of looking at you. Alright, not really, only because you’re always so good but you’re not 25 anymore. I’m tired after going to a movie let alone making 4 back to back.

Do you sleep on a stretcher?

Of course she made them one after another, she would have had to and believe me I don’t care how well they treat you, movie making is exhausting. I had a couple little lines in 1986 that I’m still getting over.

What I love, I have to say, is her 4 ply presence; like this girl never misses a party. Any actor opposite her best be on his toes because whether or not she means to, she steals every scene.

She plays Leonardo DiCaprio’s flirtatious, overbearing mother to his passionately played, though hard to see through all that hideous make-up, John Edgar Hoover who, for those of you who don’t know, was the director of of the FBI from 1924, then called the Bureau of Investigation, till he created the Federal Bureau of Investigation in 1935, until he died of heart failure in 1972 at the age of 77.

I found it interesting how she was the only one who looked pretty much the same throughout the whole film. I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if she took the make-up department aside and said, “Don’t you dare!”

Forgive me Mr. Eastwood, I know you’re an icon but what the hell were you thinking? Did you want everyone to look like you? No offense, but you are older now, still hot, but honestly sir, did they have to look like they were made of paper mache?

I think he might have taken his directorial aesthetics a tad too far. Who knows, maybe he’s had a secret longing for his cosmetician’s license all this time.

I’ve always wanted to teach.

I hope every actor who had to endure those layers of cement receives a great big bonus, you know to pay for those facials they’re going to need for the rest of their lives.

I want to say the movie itself is worth seeing since, for anyone who loves history, it’s extremely well documented though I wish we saw more of it in action rather than J.E.H. and his paramour having so many meals. In retrospect I’m not sure it would have mattered since the make-up was so distracting.

This may sound mean, but Leonardo DiCaprio looked an awful lot like ET, but older.

“Why would you think that was mean Susannah?”

“Oh, I don’t know, a hunch?”

I read somewhere that at some point he was so uncomfortable he wanted to tear his face off. See, I would have gone for Clint’s instead since those death masks had to be his idea.

Judi, on the other hand who I truly think is beautiful, was the only one I could stand to look at without covering my eyes. I sure hope my face looks like that when I’m 70. It positively glowed.

Her Anna Marie Hoover did remind me an awful lot of Amanda Wingfield in The Glass Menagerie the way she ethereally floats around, but believe me, a little Tennessee, even in a film about a paranoid, gay, always washing his hands FBI guy certainly can’t hurt.

The person I felt the sorriest for was Armie Hammer who plays Clyde Tolson, J. Edgar’s right hand man at the Bureau as well as in his personal life. No one looks that bad even when they’re old for real. What’s his mother going to say?

To be honest, the whole story line about Mr. Hoover’s private life that Mr. Eastwood and Dustin Lance Black, the film’s writer, appear so fascinated with bored me to tears.

So they were gay, who cares. I actually felt sorry that Edgar’s affection for Mr. Tolson had to be so covert. Not that I liked him all that much. His propensity to ruin people like Martin Luther King just because he could, tarnished his legacy way below sea level as far as I’m concerned.

Of course we get a taste of JFK getting a taste of Marilyn oohing and ahing on one of Edgar’s many elicit recordings along with his gift for embellishing the truth as he dramatically dictates his memoirs. In other words, there’s something for everybody including a little cross-dressing when Edgar, minutes after his mom dies realizes he can now wear her clothes.

Naomi Watts as Helen Gandy, J. Edgar’s loyal, long time secretary, was the only performance beside Judi’s that I respected despite those fake wrinkles carved in her neck. She shows you how women of that era stood sentry behind the men they worked for with built-in pride and admiration.

In the very beginning when she announces that her career will always come first you don’t realize the limitations. Being a high powered figure’s secretary was as far as a girl could go in those days. We weren’t talking medical school aspirations here; Helen just wanted out of the typing pool.

I want to say all the acting in the film was as good as hers but I really couldn’t tell. I’d have to watch it again, drink beforehand so I wouldn’t avert my eyes.

If you want the truth, if it weren’t for Judi I might very well write to Clint and ask for my 13 bucks back.

I was thinking of including some make-up tips starting with,

less is more Mr. Eastwood, trust me on this.


About Susannah Bianchi

I'm just a girl who likes to write slightly on slant. I've had a career in fashion, dabbled in film and to be honest, I don't like talking about myself. Now my posts are another matter so I will let them speak for themselves. My eBooks, A New York Diary, Model Behavior: Friends For Life and Notes From A Working Cat can be found on Amazon.com. Thanks.
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2 Responses to J. Dench

  1. Katherine Boyle says:

    I thought Naomi’s make up was good. The neck was convincing.but Armie’s- Oh my God, I thought it was terrible even when he was playing young. The eyelashes! But his great acting transcended the ghastly “old” make up. I thought Hoover looked like Judi when he aged, so that was OK for me but was it intentional??
    I thought the film was pretty good and entertaining and quite involving. But one technique Eastwood used reminded me of when you see a favourite musician in concert. When they do a medley of songs instead of singing each song completely. So irritating! Well, for me this film was like “Hoover’s greatest hits!!” JFK! Valentine’s Day Massacre! It was like a superficial checklist rather than a eeal treatment.
    As for Dame Judi- love her! She asked me for directions one day outside Crate and Barrel on Madison. What an opportunity! Nice chat, tell her you love her and her work, have a nice cup of tea with her. Sigh! Unfortunately, I was on my way home from the dentist after surgery. Had a face like the elephant man so instead of cosy afternoon tea with DJ, I pointed out the way she should go while covering my swollen face. Oh well, next time.


    • ‘Hoover’s Greatest Hits’ is going down in history. So funny. And I bet one day you’ll see Judi again and have that cup of tea. You always make me laugh.

      Maybe we should become movie critics, you know, have our own cable show. We can sit on stools, smoke, drink Pepsi and tell the truth. At the end I’ll say, ‘God bless America, and you, ‘God save the Queen.’ What do you think? Are you free?

      You should start writing, you are very, very funny..



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