“Tumbo” is an entertaining, Hollywood insider movie based on the true story of legendary, Oscar-winning screenwriter, Dalton Trumbo, blacklisted in the 1940’s and 50’s along with other artists for alleged Communist, anti-American activity in Hollywood. A funny, insightful film about First Amendment rights during the cold war.
Bryan Crantson (Breaking Bad, Argo) is Oscar-caliber as one of the most outspoken and celebrated writers of his time, after all, Dalton Trumbo wrote, “Roman Holiday,” “Exodus”, “The Brave One,” and “Spartacus.” He’s terrific in a movie that allows everyone a chance to speak their mind, both liberal and conservative. It was also a paranoid time in American history where artists lost their families, their lives, and their livelihood if they didn’t go along with the conservative party line.
“Trumbo” is directed with a slightly off-center touch by Jay Roach (Meet The Parents, Austin Powers, Game Change) allowing the audience to giggle while learning an important and often sad piece of American history. Diane Lane (Under The Tuscan Sun, A Little Romance, Lonesome Dove) is wonderfully understated as Trumbo’s good natured, long suffering wife, and Elle Fanning (Maleficent, Somewhere, Super 8) is just about perfect as Trumbo’s like-minded daughter.
“Trumbo” is rated R for language, most of it coming from John Goodman as a trashy, low-budget film maker, and runs just over two hours. The Blacklisting era in Hollywood has always been a shameful chapter in American history but this movie is an honorable portrayal of one man’s difficult, monumental journey.