The Death & Life of John F. Donovan

The Death & Life of John F. Donovan ★★★

Natalie Portman’s early-2000s mom aesthetic had me feeling hot and bothered. 

Boisterous, flashy, overdosing on melodrama, John F. Donovan is absolutely lit up by Xavier Dolan’s stylish direction.

It can be jarring at times, given the dark subject matter; it reaches shocking levels of cheesy, furthered only by the generic, swelling score and Jacob Tremblay’s overdone performance.

But I took a second to think: is that a bad thing for a film like this? Of its many themes, a big one is celebrity status — something that is, by nature, over the top. It’s fitting, and almost feels self-aware.

Xavier turned what could’ve felt like a PSA on mental health into something digestible; instead of taking a strictly grim path, he crafted a peculiar piece of entertainment.

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