What to Watch: Trumbo
I rented Trumbo the other night on Amazon and was so pleasantly surprised. My mom was a high school English teacher and so I had heard of Dalton Trumbo--what a name! She teaches The Scarlet Letter and talks about McCarthyism, so I'm familiar with this period, but seeing it on the big screen brought it to life in a way I've never thought about before. To be sure, it was a little campy, but Bryan Cranston was pitch perfect--he doesn't over sell it, he isn't the hero we might wish he was, but he is a victim of the time. I also loved his daughter, Niki, played by Elle Fanning and his counterpart (friend, but sometimes antagonist) Arlen Herd played by Louis C.K. These cast members really stood out to me as being round, feeling grounded, and having interesting story arcs.
As a history nerd, the plot appeals to me. As a current political junkie (aahhh! elections!!) the moral of this (free speech and freedom to believe in anything without repercussion) hit home. Recommended--a great one to watch with a literary friend or parent.
The successful career of 1940s screenwriter Dalton Trumbo (Bryan Cranston) comes to a crushing end when he and other Hollywood figures are blacklisted for their political beliefs. TRUMBO (directed by Jay Roach) tells the story of his fight against the U.S. government and studio bosses in a war over words and freedom, which entangled everyone in Hollywood from Hedda Hopper (Helen Mirren) and John Wayne to Kirk Douglas and Otto Preminger.
Watch the trailer here: