‘The Death and Life of John F. Donovan’ Trailer: Xavier Dolan’s Drama Finally Gets U.S. Release

Written by on November 18, 2019 

Despite the impressive cast of Kit Harington, Jacob Tremblay, Natalie Portman, Susan Sarandon, Kathy Bates, and Thandie Newton (not including the cut-out Jessica Chastain), Xavier Dolan’s The Death and Life of John F. Donovan has had trouble finding U.S. distribution since its premiere at TIFF 2018 where it received less-than-stellar review. Over a year later, Momentum Pictures has now come on board and the drama about a star’s correspondence with a young boy will be arriving in just a few weeks, in theaters and on VOD. Ahead of the release, the new U.S. trailer has now 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.

A decade after the death of an American TV star, a young actor reminisces about the written correspondence he once shared with the former, as well as the impact those letters had on both their lives.

The Death and Life of John F. Donovan opens in U.S. theaters and on VOD on December 13.


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