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But Eastwood and Black put at the centre of this film Hoover's quasi-homosexual, buttoned-up platonic relationship with his Bureau deputy. Almost Normal () on IMDb: Movies, TV, Celebs, and more. The twist here is that his past is now a world where same sex relations are the norm and being. From Victim to Weekend, we remember some of the best British gay films. recently as , and where gay marriage continues to ruffle right-wingers, . Britain's first significant gay movie made by a gay director divided audiences. Andrew Haigh's debut Greek Pete (), a quasi-documentary about a.
Leonardo DiCaprio plays the chief, both as a young zealot in the cause of criminal-detection science, and as a crinkly oldster behind his desk, frowning, grimacing, taking his glasses on and off, barking cantankerous orders to his devoted secretary, and occasionally making brooding appearances on his Washington DC office balcony, to watch another presidential inaugural motorcade roll past.
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The drama happens largely in flashback as Hoover dictates his life story to a succession of submissive junior agents. He says he wants to "reclarify the difference between villain and hero". There are some foggy reclarification processes at work in this movie, which refrains from simply denouncing Hoover's attitude to civil liberties, balancing this topic with Hoover's dynamic G-Man attacks on gangsters and terrorists, and with his proto-CSI innovations. But Eastwood and Black put at the centre of this film Hoover's quasi-homosexual, buttoned-up platonic relationship with his Bureau deputy, Clyde Tolson, played by Armie Hammer.
The two men, and Gandy, periodically shuffle on for later-life appearances, prosthetically and somewhat exotically aged up.
The movie does not quite reclaim Hoover for gay history, neither does it exactly claim a tragic status for Hoover's imprisonment in the closet, nor quite suggest that his tentacular empire was a symptom of sexual repression. And there's an infuriating final twist that sneakily preserves the movie's impartiality.
What is crystal clear is that this Hoover is dominated by his mother, played by Judi Dench, and it is in relation to her that Eastwood and Black effectively acknowledge the scurrilous apocryphal anecdote about Hoover cross-dressing, though in respectfully rewritten form.
This film's echoes of Hitchcock's Psycho are striking, almost as if America is turning into a huge Bates motel with peepholes.
But are these echoes intentional? DiCaprio's Hoover is an interesting and considered performance, and he and Eastwood plausibly put us inside Hoover's home life. Here is no action man, but an administrator and super-nerd, with a intensely developed sense of professionalism and — something to appal Tea Party activists — an enthusiast for big government and federal empire, sweeping aside the rickety local police departments and putting in place a nationwide outfit of souped-up crimebusters, armed to the teeth.
His mother still dreams that he'll find some nice girl, and as he remarks to Julie, sometimes he just wishes that he was "normal".
Not that he dislikes being gay, but he is weary of being different from the heterosexuals that surrounded him. As a gay man, I found it easy to identify with this sentiment. Events at the party annoy him so much that he gets drunk, even though he recently gave up alcohol. Seeking some fun, he slips out of the party and drives to a local gay cruising area, where he crashes his car into a tree.
As we suspect and our suspicions are confirmed much later in the film much of the remainder of the film is a dream sequence that plays in his mind while he lies unconscious in a hospital.
And what a dream! Brad dreams that when he wakes the next morning, something unexplainable has happened. He has traveled back in time to the 's, and is now an 18 year old high school student.
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But that's not all. He has gotten his wish to be "normal" because everyone in the world is gay! Except, of course, those outcasts who are emotionally and physically attracted to members of the opposite sex.
Known pejoratively as "breeders" and "hole-punchers", heterosexuals in Brad's dream world are routinely ostracized, scorned and even "straight bashed". They are preached against, misunderstood, and subjected to extreme ignorance and isolation. Pardon my gloating, but as a gay man, I found this a most delicious and righteous turn-about on reality. It was also highly satisfying to see a world where gay people are totally free, and stand proudly with their chosen partners before the entire world.
In Brad's dream, there is no such thing as homophobia, and for a wonderful moment I allowed myself to be caught up in this glorious if absurd fantasy.
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A myriad of plot problems are resolved with witty or sometimes silly explanations. In his dream, Brad's parents have same-sex partners, but his father and mother begat him through a custom known as "birth partners" where best friends of opposite sexes have children solely to reproduce, although romance and sexual desire between the sexes is taboo and "disgusting".
Here's where Brad's dream gets dicey and somewhat confusing. Enter his sister-in-law, Julie. Although Brad has found his soul-mate, a basketball jock he had a crush on in High School in his "real" life, Brad slowly begins to realize that he is sexually attracted to Julie, and she to him.