Why Xavier Dolan warns John F. Donovan and Thandie Newton!

//   25 dicembre 2019   // 0 Commenti

The movie feels disjointed and made up of parts that Dolan couldn’t bring together as it shuffles between three story strands. Moments such as Portman and Tremblay as mother and son reuniting in the rain to Florence and the Machine’s version of “Stand By Me” capture the expressive emotional maximalism of Dolan’s best work, but the sequences with Harington in particular often feel listless and lifeless.

The movie itself seems like an expression of some kind of growing pains, even as the young director confidently works with big-name actors. The prolific Dolan has already unveiled another movie since “John F. Donovan” premiered in the fall of 2018, so this relative stumble can perhaps be filed away as a transitional curio.

Early in The Death And Life Of John F. Donovan, an ambitious journalist (Thandie Newton) sits down to interview up-and-coming young actor Rupert Turner (Ben Schnetzer), who’s just published a celebrated childhood memoir. After turning on her tape recorder and taking a few perfunctory notes, the journalist reveals that she hasn’t read Rupert’s book and didn’t want this assignment. She considers it a fluff piece, and suggests that his “first-world problems” are unworthy of her attention. Rupert then launches into an impassioned monologue about the pain and heartbreak he experienced as a struggling child actor dealing with a mercurial stage mother—sounding for all the world like John F. Donovan’s writer-director, Xavier Dolan, who began his own career as a child actor (in Quebec), and whose tempestuous relationship with Mom formed the basis of his superb debut feature, I Killed My Mother. “Please take me seriously,” this lengthy, earnest speech beseeches. The journalist says nothing, but she dons a pair of spectacles, flips her tape recorder’s cassette to the other side, and opens her notebook to a fresh page. She’s starting anew.


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