The Death and Life of John F. Donovan

Pretentious navel-gazing

A young actor being interviewed ten years after the suicide of a TV star (Kit Harington, brooding) with whom he had exchanged letters back when he was just 11 reflects on the impact their pen-pal relationship had on both their lives. 

French-Canadian director Xavier Dolan apparently got lost during the two years he spent editing mountains of film, and ultimately managed only this awkwardly structured, timeframe-jumping, barely coherent vanity project.

The movie sports a fine cast, which includes Natalie Portman, Susan Sarandon, Kathy Bates and Thandie Newton, but they all seem to be acting in different movies and their characters are fairly insufferable. Jessica Chastain’s character was edited out entirely!

None of this mirthless melodrama remotely rings true. You should miss it twice.

(123 min)