The Death & Life of John F. Donovan

The Death & Life of John F. Donovan ★★★★½

I didn’t really know what to expect going into Xavier Dolan’s The Death & Life of John F. Donovan, but after finishing my viewing I can immediately reassure future viewers that this is, without a doubt, a masterpiece in almost every sense of the word. Being an artist, I’ve always found myself attracted to films that portray the struggles of the creative experience (Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters, At Eternity’s Gate, Vox Lux being prime examples) but Dolan’s vision here is near unmatched, an endeavor rooted in philosophy but backed by a traditional structure that helps it keep the pace sturdy throughout its runtime. It’s a film that quietly explores the delicacy of media exposure and the human struggle to grapple with our own sexualities. Harrington, Tremblay, and Portman all deliver top-notch performances: especially the latter, who will probably get robbed of an Academy Award nomination but certainly deserves one. Dolan conveys so much rich emotion here, and this is, once again, a masterpiece.

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