By surprise, and when nobody expected it anymore, it has appeared in the catalog of Amazon Prime Video the cursed movie that brought one of the greats together for the first time terrible children of contemporary cinemaXavier Dolan) and the main star of the most popular series of the 21st century (Kit Harington). Three years after its world premiere at the Toronto Film Festival, finally it can be seen legally in Spain My life with John F. Donovan. His path to our screens has been one of the roughest in the past decade in the entertainment industry.
If the names of Dolan and Harington were not enough claim, the group of secondary that the Canadian obtained in his first and – for the moment – only film in English would do the rest. The child prodigy Jacob Tremblay, Natalie Portman, Susan Sarandon, Kathy Bates, Thandiwe Newton, Michael Gambon and Ben Schnetzer accompanied the actor of Game of Thrones.
My life with John F. Donovan it had everything to be one of the auteur films of the year, the kind of title that all film festivals fight for. Until they didn’t. His disappointing Toronto release explained why: The film was as well-intentioned as its results were uneven and chaotic.
Buscando a Jessica Chastain
Dolan’s Anglo-Saxon debut fiasco wasn’t necessarily a surprise to those who had followed the film’s complicated post-production. At the beginning of 2018 the director announced on his social networks that Jessica Chastain, confess to the author of Mommy and Just the end of the world, would not appear in the final cut of the film despite the fact that, on the script, it had one of the key characters in the story.
“The character of Jessica Chastain, after a long period of reflection, had to be removed from the film. It was an extremely difficult decision. I have deep love and admiration for Jessica. The decision was editorial and narrative, and had nothing to do with her acting, but with her character, and the compatibility of her story. This villain subplot, while fun and entertaining, didn’t fit in with the rest of the story. ” By this time, Dolan had already spent more than two years working on the montage of a film that was reluctant to find its identity.
Inspired by real events
The origins of My life with John F. Donovan date back to 2011. At the age of 22, this weakness of the Cannes Festival (it has been present with six of its films, three of them aspiring to the Palme d’Or) began to develop an idea anchored in the doubts and obsessions of his own childhood. During the childhood of the filmmaker, pop culture became the lifeline of a child who was perceived as different and strange in the eyes of the world and his own family. In the first of the film, Dolan read to more than 1,500 people the admiration letter he had sent to Leonardo Dicaprio months after the premiere of Titanic. The now revered actor was not the only recipient of his letters, but he was the inspirer of a dramatic story that is finally available in Spain.
Thus was born the secret letter friendship between a famous American actor and an eleven-year-old British boy. When the relationship becomes public and malicious rumors run rampant, the life and career of an interpreter – who had not yet resolved conflicts stemming from his sexual orientation and insecurities – falter. Years later, that lonely boy, now hidden, wants to bring to light the story that saved his life … and endangered that of his savior. During years, Dolan had defended the idea that cinema could and should be for all audiences. This cursed movie explained why.
The journey through the desert
The coldness of the critics and the public at its world premiere returned the film to a drawer. Dolan, visibly affected by the most difficult project of your short but prolific filmography, he decided to return to his native Quebec to make a smaller story with his best friends. Matthias & Maxime he returned the director to the Cannes Film Festival in 2019. His previous project, however, was still awaiting distribution almost worldwide. The bad press and the high price that producers kept asking In order to sell the film in international markets, he made a film with Kit Harington, Natalie Portman or Susan Sarandon be forgotten. Until today.
On September 10, 2018, I had the opportunity to attend that world premiere in Toronto without knowing that I would not have a chance to see it again until almost three years later. So I wrote the following: “As troublesome as well-intentioned, My life with John F. Donovan reminds us that Dolan is an erratic director, but necessary. Excessive, but exciting. Like his characters, his cinema lives in a world halfway between its vices and contradictions. It is up to each one of us if we want to live in it ”. Now, thanks to this surprise release of Amazon Prime Video, its users in Spain can also make that decision.
‘My life with John F. Donovan’ can only be seen in Spain through Amazon Prime Video.
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Amazon rescues ‘My life with John F. Donovan’ the unpublished film in Spain by Xavier Dolan with Kit Harington