My Life with John F. Donovan, Xavier Dolan | Review


Published on Jun 28, 2019


Almost softens up the pace, limping, and breath is broken, the body slim but in spite of everything do not want to give it up because it was animated by a spirit as lively and strong this is My Life With John F. Donovan movie equivalent of a creature bloodless which somehow manages, even if barely, and not really as he wished, go where he wanted to make surviving a trip that define the harsh, would be to give him a compliment.

The first effort in hollywood for the enfant prodige of the canadian turns into a disaster out with elbows and knees from production hell in which he wandered for two years, a total meltdown from over $35 million dollars of budget (the highest in the career of the multi-talented and still very young filmmaker) rewarded with just $2 million collected in the world, open to review us even lower and in general so many whistles and so many withdraw with tails between the legs in the various circuits festival-goers that have accepted it (a few, to tell the truth).

Rightly, the investment was substantial and is angry not to see the fruits of Hollywood works as well (printing the north-american has so hated that to date has not yet been distributed), and the dead cats pulled on the occasion of the Toronto Film Festival in 2018 are served yes to report Dolan to the the assembly, in an attempt to save the situation, but also to aggravate the reputation of a film that comes in these days with the reputation of “the cursed”.

And it is precisely this aura of the damned that makes it doubly interesting is the approach to the seventh feature (paradoxically so late in the distribution to be already to become the “old” movie of Dolan, that in Cannes, 2019 presented to the eighth work, Matthias & Maxime) of an impressive career and polarizing as a few others – perhaps none – from the debut in 2009 with J'ai tué ma mère: a little boy eight years old with a passion exaggerated to the cinema in general, but for an international star, in particular, he decides to write a letter to his idol.

And this is the starting point of private life (Dolan was in love with Leonardo Di Caprio at the time of the Titanic, and Dicaprio wrote in a letter, from which the author begins to tell the story of Rupert Turner (Jacob Tremblay), the star John F. Donovan (Kit Harington) and their private correspondence kept secret for years. The film fails to do justice to the size of the correspondence of the story, which is flattened and choices visual never neither convincing nor attractive, and a script halfway between the pompous and didactic.

The assembly, true aggravating because visibly contrived and rehashed over and over again (the movie, already too long, was still more extended source, with a plot involving a character played by Jessica Chastain, is now completely removed), makes the film heavy and never balanced, often blunt, clumsy, characteristics that may not stand out, and to the expert eye and the palate-delicious.

And yet, all this intricate jumble, the main themes of the poetics of the author are evident, from the intimacy of the shameless of the trials in the maternal relationship, and the sentimentalism expressed in the sound of rock music to all the love for pop culture. In a certain sense, there are glimpses of Maps to the Stars David Cronenberg, in his own way a film is much more successful to the dialectic with which he deals with with a satirical on the world of private celebrity, the more bodies the public that exist in society, and in hindsight it would have also been able to become the movie manifesto of the career of its author.

It becomes, instead, the lowest point, for the fall, however, blunted by its being completely painless, because you arrived at the end of a streak of positive incredible: a glass is half full is empty aftertaste bitter, but disappears right away and leaves a memory almost as sweet.

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