While the five-year stretch that comprised his first five films resulted in Xavier Dolan’s rise in international prominence, the last years haven’t been as kind, with It’s Only the End of the World and The Death and Life of John F. Donovan receiving less-than-stellar reviews and distribution woes. The most recent film still doesn’t have U.S. distribution–despite the impressive cast of Kit Harington, Jacob Tremblay, Natalie Portman, Susan Sarandon, Kathy Bates, and Thandie Newton–but it’ll arrive in France this March and the first international trailer has landed.
Josh Lewis said in his TIFF review, “The Death and Life of John F. Donovan, his most ambitious undertaking yet (dealing with three major characters in two different timelines), however carries with it a bizarre desperation to be taken seriously, deploying a lot of the same stylistic tics with a hesitance and muddled fragmentation meanwhile pre-emptively addressing its critics before its even told its story. Death traces the lives of the people in the orbit of Rupert Turner (Jacob Tremblay, either horribly miscast, overwritten, or both), an 11-year-old boy whose written correspondence with his favorite 20-something actor John F. Donovan (Kit Harington, surprisingly emotive) is revealed to both families and the world, leading to the industry spiral and eventual overdose of John while the curious Rupert is left to deal with the fallout both as a kid and an adult actor later in life.”
See the trailer below.
The Death and Life of John F. Donovan opens in France on March 13 and is seeking U.S. distribution.