The film does a terrific job of examining Dalton Trumbo's unyielding beliefs, his
cantankerous personality, and most importantly his words.
His letters are read by terrific actors like David Straithairn and Donald Sutherland,
and it's in these readings that we get an insight into how sad and deep America's
fear of intellectuals and artists really was in the 1950s, when some of Hollywood's
very best writers, actors and directors were denied the ability to work for having
left wing beliefs. And by extension, we can see that fear of intellectual ideas
still seems threatening to much of American society today.
The film has flaws, including rushing through some of the most important turns in
Trumbo's professional life (e.g., his return to finally being able to take credit for his
work in 1960) and there's a slight lack of emotional punch to the whole thing.
But this is intelligent filmmaking, and Trumbo's words will ring in my head for a long time.