Hail, Caesar! (2016) Rated PG-13

hail caesarA parodied homage to the Golden Age of Hollywood, focusing on the efforts of Eddie Mannix, Hollywood producer and fixer, as he attempts to locate a missing actor. Starring George Clooney, Josh Brolin, Tilda Swinton, Scarlett Johansson, Channing Tatum, Frances McDormand, Jonah Hill, Ralph Fiennes.  Directed by Joel and Ethan Coen.

Brolin stars as Eddie Mannix, a Hollywood fixer for his studio’s troubled, talented actors.  When top star Baird Whitlock (Clooney) disappears, it is up to Mannix to both find him and manage a series of other ensuing problems around the studio lot.

Many of the characters are based on the lives of real Hollywood stars from that era.  Johanssen’s onscreen character is a nod to Esther Williams, while her storyline mimics that of Loretta Lynn.  Whitlock, playing the lead role in the film within the film, Hail, Caesar!, is an amalgam of Robert Taylor, Kirk Douglas, and Charlton Heston.

There is little suspense, but a bit of confusion, on the viewer’s part, as we see where and for what purpose Whitlock is taken. However, there is a fair amount of curiosity surrounding how each of the additional character’s situations will be resolved. As the film wraps up, we are left to appreciate how deftly Mannix managed both his and his clients’ lives and to consider how well we are troubleshooting our own.  A humorous, clever, and thoughtful look at the Golden Age, this film is worth a watch.

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