This movie is a saddening look at one of America's darkest times. It has received lots of negative reviews, but don't listen to them. It is the best movie I have seen about the times and it captures the essence of Hollywood during the 1950s when McCarthy and the House Un-American Committee were at the peak of power. Robert De Niro is excellent, as always, as David Merrill, a director with success, fans, and he is living his dream. Then he goes on a vacation, and when he returns, the town is different. The movie opens up with a typical Committee meeting in which David's friend Larry is spooked by the committee. Before long he is burning his books and disowning his wife as a communist. Red Fever has hit town, and David is next in line. Somebody has named him as a Communist sympathyzer, and he refuses to testify to the Committee because he is angry and doesn't want to hurt his friends. Before long he finds he cannot get a job, not directing, producing, or even working in a film repair shop. His life is turned upside down, and he decides finally to testify to the Committee. The acting is what makes this movie, De Niro, but also Annette Bening, George Wendt, Martin Scorsese is great in a cameo. My favorite part is when one cast member is called a commie by the producer for siding with David. "I turned in commies without the government even asking. If you want to call me a commie, you got to back it up." David replies, "If he wants to call you a commie, he doesn't need to back it up." Some people say it is contrived or unbelievable, but the transformation in David, from materialistic director to a man seeing the need to defy the McCarthyists is done well. If you like history, or if you like De Niro, you will enjoy this film.