Director: Jay Roach
Stars: Bryan Cranston, Louis C.K., Helen Mirren, John Goodman
Despite having a serious story in its belly, Trumbo also brings a sense of breezy joy and humor—particularly with Louis C.K., Helen Mirren, and John Goodman in the picture. Known for doing his best work in the bathtub and a cigarette in-hand, Dalton Trumbo (Bryan Cranston) is as successful a screenwriter as they get, with a freshly inked deal with MGM to his name, making him the world's highest paid screenwriter. That is, until the House of Un-American Activities Committee decides to give him a lift down. A member of the communist party and a firm believer in First Amendment rights, the charismatic, wry, and self-assured Trumbo goes on to sacrifice his career and life to stand up to the tyranny of the McCarthy Era. For his brave act of defiance, he is held in contempt of Congress and sentenced to jail time along with ten other industry players—The Hollywood Ten, as they came to be known.
This was a dark time in American history and Hollywood was merely a reflection of that. People were placed in impossible positions, friends betrayed friends, and a sense of paranoia haunted the country. What would you REALLY do, asks the film? Would you merely denounce communism or would you name names? The bigger point, the film claims, is that no one should be asked to make these choices in the first place. Blacklisted, Trumbo has to resort to writing anonymously, mostly trashy B-movies for the King Brothers (Goodman and Stephen Root), but two of the scripts happened to be The Brave One and Roman Holiday, winning him Oscars he could never claim.