Where’s My Roy Cohn? Lays Roots For Trump

Joseph McCarthy and Roy Cohn in Where's My Roy Cohn? Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics.

Where’s My Roy Cohn? is a documentary on the guy who served as chief aide to Joseph McCarthy as well as being a mentor to Donald Trump.

Listen, I think Matt Tyrnauer is a fine filmmaker.  He does a solid job at digging up interviews out of the archives and grabbing interviews for the film.  But when push comes to shove, is Roy Cohn somebody that’s really worthy of a documentary let alone a biopic?  I think the answer is no.  That being said, Where’s My Roy Cohn? is a documentary that explains why the person sitting in the White House acts in a particular way.  It really should not come as a surprise when one sees how Cohn behaved during his lifetime.

Among the interviews, Roger Stone is certainly the headliner.  He’s joined by a number of Cohn’s co-workers and family members.  Through interviews, the archival footage of the Army-McCarthy hearings is seen through a new light.  It just goes to show how ruthless Cohn could be when it came to getting his way.  Ultimately, the episode led to Cohn’s resignation from working for McCarthy.

Going back to Cohn’s playbook, when we see the type of life he lived, it’s no wonder that a certain guy is always trying to deflect the matter.  Cohn lived by several rules.  Among them were to always attack and never blame or apologize.  One of the areas where Cohn certainly succeeded was in his manipulation of the media.  On top of this, he issue lie after lie.  Then there is the whole thing about dancing around the truth.  Does this remind you of anyone?!?  It should!!!  Because the man residing in the White House is taking full advantage of every lesson Cohn taught.

It’s truly remarkable that one man could have such a large political legacy even though he didn’t work in politics for long.  This is a man who was able to connect Rupert Murdoch with Ronald Reagan.  A man who would become a mentor to Trump.  It’s kind of funny but the film touches on the fact that Trump’s company hired 200 illegal immigrants to tear down a building so that Trump Tower could be built.  And you wonder how Trump became so hellbent when it comes to immigration!

I had never heard of Roy Cohn until Sundance selected the film for its lineup late last year.  While the film may be enlightening with how he lived his life, he isn’t a man that any of us would have wanted to encounter during his lifetime.  Yet Where’s My Roy Cohn shows that he played a large part in getting America to where it is today despite being dead for three decades.

DIRECTOR:  Matt Tyrnauer
FEATURING:  Roger Stone, Ken Auletta, Liz Smith, Annie Roiphe, David Cay Johnston, Jim Zirin, Marie Brenner, Jason Epstein, Sam Roberts, John Vassalo, Marin London, Robert Cohen, Peter Sudler, Elizabeth Kabler, Dave Marcus, Gary Marcus, Thomas Doherty, David Rosenthal

Sony Picture Classics opens Where’s My Roy Cohn? in theaters on September 20, 2019. Grade: 3/5

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.