Movie Review: Hail, Caesar! Inspiring, Creative, Faith-Inspired

Emma Goffard, Guest Writer, Advanced Journalism

Faith Renewed

Hail, Caesar! (2016) 

Cast: Eddie Mannix, Hobie, Doyle, Baird Whitlock, DeeAnna Moran, Burt Gurney

Director: Ethan Coen, Joen Coen 


This movie takes place in the 20th century, with the main character Eddie Mannix, who depicts a mixture of gruffness and tortured tenderness. Mannix has a number of problems to contend with throughout the movie. Hobie Doyle, the singing cowboy, is Mannix’s first project where he needs to promote this western star to a romantic comedy. DeeAna Moran is the aquatic musical star who is newly pregnant, making her mermaid costume painful to wear. On top of this, she is not sure if she would be interested in marrying the father of her child, which would destroy her All-American image.

A pair of twin gossip columnists demand answers to awkward questions and also threaten the public with an awkward story about the studio’s biggest matinee idol, Baird Whitlock. Whitlock has been kidnapped from the set of his Biblical epic by a group of disgruntled Communist screenwriters. A recruiter from Lockheed tempts Eddie with a vested position, the promise of saner hours, and the chance to be involved with something “serious.” Meanwhile, Mannix has to deal with his personal problems: he is a devout Catholic who almost compulsively goes to confession, frets over having told his wife he is going to quit smoking, and then sneaks cigarettes during his stress-filled day. 


Through a religious imagination Eddie Mannix could be viewed as an image which represents God as the Holy Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Mannix is a Father image in how he is deeply involved within the film industry, his “creation;” he helps to solve a great number of problems amongst his actors, his “creatures”. Acting as a Father figure, he cares towards other people and does his best to put others before himself. Acting as the Son, Mannix continuously helps to redeem others by helping them with their problems, their “sins.” When Baird Whitlock is kidnapped, Mannix is willing to pay the ransom like Jesus Christ was willing to pay our ransom for our rebellion against God.  Mannix is a figure for the Holy Spirit, which Christ sent to be our intercessor, as he helps guide others towards making the right decisions and steering them away from toxic temptations. When reporter Thora Thacker threatened to run an article against Capital Pictures, Mannix advises her against such an article for her own benefit.  Through film, specifically in the character of Eddie Mannix, we can explore matters of faith more deeply and even come to know more about God who creates, redeems, and sanctifies us. 

At one hour and forty-six minutes, this film is fairly long and it is sometimes difficult to understand the complex characters at times. However, the action scenes and impressive dialogue keep the audience’s attention. 

Despite the film’s minor shortcomings, Hail, Caesar! is exciting, creative, faith inspired–and well worth your time.