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A documentary adaptation of the popular regional theatrical monologue -- in which such heavyweights as Paul Newman, Nathan Lane, and Joe Mantegna essayed the lead on various occasions -- Trumbo recounts the life and times of legendary Hollywood scribe-turned-HUAC scapegoat Dalton Trumbo. As with its source production, the film takes as its base material highly personal, detailed, and emotive letters written by Dalton Trumbo to his son, Christopher; the latter, in turn, molded the missives into a screenplay for this production. Here, however, in lieu of one actor portraying Dalton, a number of… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 82%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"The transporting power of this experience is in the passionate and almost outlandishly eloquent verbal expression Trumbo poured into his correspondence, and the vividly American principles he defends."
‑ Jonathan F. Richards,
"It's a pleasure to meet a truly moral man in a documentary that rightly heralds his name."
‑ Ruthe Stein, San Francisco Chronicle
"The silver lining to 13 years of being blacklisted are all those incredible letters that we can now enjoy for their deft but basic truths."
‑ Al Alexander, The Patriot Ledger
"Does a fine job of showing the emotional and financial toll the decadelong blacklist (plus a year's imprisonment for contempt of Congress) took on Trumbo and his family as he tried to scrape by writing anonymously."
‑ Stan Hall, Oregonian
"As the story of a fierce, beleaguered individualist, 'Trumbo' is stirring and informative, though perhaps not as thorough as it could be."
‑ Rossiter Drake, San Francisco Examiner
"It will serve as a fine entry point for younger auds interested in learning about theprice paid by moviemakers and their families swept up in the 1950s anti-Communist net."
‑ Robert Koehler, Variety
"A ousing documentary as ornery, orotund and captivating as its subject."
‑ Carrie Rickey, Philadelphia Inquirer
"Like the great artist he is Trumbo's work speaks as loudly today as it did 50 years ago. Perhaps we should all listen."
‑ Bill Gibron, PopMatters
"Trumbo is hurt by an unwillingness to actually explore Trumbo's own politics and delve into his actual beliefs about communism, Stalin or Marxist ideology."
‑ Patrick Z. McGavin, Screen International
"Dalton Trumbo showed that it was possible, even within the Hollywood system, to deal seriously with issues like freedom and personal responsibility."
‑ Sarah Boslaugh, Playback:stl
"The film is an enlightening recap of '50s Red Scare politics, and a parade of actors giving meaningful, earnest readings of Trumbo's speeches and letters."
‑ John Anderson, Newsday
"Although it glosses over a few relevant details, Trumbo also functions as a passionate defense of truth from a writer who embodied all of the virtues that America claims to value."
‑ Jeff Shannon, Seattle Times
"A portrait of Dalton Trumbo, the writer who defied HUAC. Joan Allen, Paul Giamatti, Liam Neeson, David Strathairn and Donald Sutherland, among others, read excerpts from Trumbo's letters. Moving and compelling. Must see."
‑ Jennifer Merin,
"An amazing primer on how to stand by your principles even as the unprincipled knock you around."
‑ James Rocchi, Cinematical
"Of all the many narrative films and documentaries that have been made about the Hollywood blacklist, none has more intimately captured what it must have been like to live through that sordid time."
‑ William Arnold, Seattle Post-Intelligencer
More reviews for Trumbo on Rotten Tomatoes