Released A relatively new film by director Xavier Dolan, The Death and Life of John F. Donovan, about a popular actor in a crisis of creativity and identity, pouring out his soul to a pen pal. We will tell you in more detail what Dolan's most personal opus was successful in, and in what it was not very successful, and about six more films where letters occupy an important place in the plot.
TEXT: Dina Klyucharyova, author of the telegram channel One Oscar For Leo
Death and life of John F. Donovan
THE DEATH AND LIFE OF JOHN F. DONOVAN, 2018
Producer: Xavier Dolan
The film has a difficult fate: Dolan struggled for an agonizingly long time over editing and in the end completely cut out the role of Jessica Chastain from the picture, the premiere was postponed several times, and all hopes for success were finally ditched by devastating reviews from critics. Nevertheless, "The Death and Life of John F. Donovan" has a bright side - Kit Harington (Jon Snow from "Game of Thrones"), who played one of the main roles. He is so convincing in the role of a young actor who has become a hostage of his career that the questions of why Harington recently went to rehab disappear by themselves.
Outside, John Donovan is a favorite of the public and a teenage hero, starring in a popular youth TV series, dating a childhood friend. From the inside, he is monstrously tired: with the burden of maternal and spectator expectations and the need to maintain a public image that is far from who he really feels. He sincerely talks about his feelings only in letters to his young fan (Jacob Tremblay from "The Room"), whom, however, no one believes: how can a superstar waste time texting with a nine-year-old boy?
Dolan, as always, explores his favorite topics: the difficult relationship with his mother and the acceptance of his own sexuality. However, the story about John Donovan is devoid of the harmony of the narrative, unlike, for example, the same "Mom". Dialogues sound strained, the plot jumps chaotically between two time periods, and even the abundance of top stars in the frame - from Katie Bates and Natalie Portman to Susan Sarandon - does not save the film: none of them have enough time to adequately play their characters. Despite the fact that the stumbling block in the film is the notorious correspondence, the picture is not at all about her and not even about the strange friendship of an adult with a child, but about motherhood, which is inevitably accompanied by someone's disappointments, and about the fact that the facade of a person is not identical his gut, even if he looks very convincing.
Charing Cross Road, 84
84 Charing Cross Road, 1987
Producer: David Hugh Jones
New York, late forties, lonely writer Helene Hanf (Anne Bancroft) is passionate about collecting rare editions and suffers from a shortage of books in poverty after World War II. She sends a letter across the ocean to one of the British stores and becomes not only a regular customer, but also develops friendships with all the employees - and especially a close relationship with the owner Frank (Anthony Hopkins), which turns into a correspondence romance twenty years long. Despite the enormous distance and the significant difference between British and American cultural attitudes, these two become the closest people in the world to each other, who were never destined to meet face to face.
On the beach
Producer: Garry Marshall
Warm and funny musical melodrama about two friends from different social strata starring Bette Midler and Barbara Hershey. Playful Xi Xi and restrained Hillary meet at a children's talent competition, however, despite the charisma of the first, the judges give the victory to a more modest girl. Instead of celebrating triumph, Hillary rushes to console the angry C.C. - and from that moment their indestructible friendship begins.After the competition, the girls go home to meet again in adulthood. Each of them has its own destiny: one chooses quiet motherhood, the other chooses a career as a singer and loneliness. CC and Hillary continue to correspond for many years, supporting, inspiring and helping each other to gain self-confidence.
On the run
Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, 2013
Producer: David Lowry
A little-known crime drama with a beautiful cinematography and impeccable chemistry between Rooney Mara and Casey Affleck, who played the main roles.
After a robbery attempt, Bob and Ruth are ambushed, and the girl wounds a police officer, but her partner takes the blame, for which she is sent to prison for many years. Bob writes heartfelt letters to Ruth, and Ruth carries his child and patiently waits for her beloved to be free. Time passes, and while Bob is gaining the determination to make an escape to reunite with his family, Ruth is gaining doubts - is their long-awaited meeting and the prospect of spending a lifetime on the run in order to refuse the opportunity to raise her daughter in a calm and safe atmosphere?
Producer: Neil Labuth
A screen adaptation of the great novel "Possess" by the English writer Antonia Bayette. Literary critic Roland Mitchell (Aaron Eckhart) finds in a book that belonged to the great Victorian poet a love letter addressed to an unknown woman. The scientist is on the verge of a significant discovery, because until now the poet was considered a model of morality and a devoted family man. To understand this mysterious story, Mitchell invites Maud Bailey (Gwyneth Paltrow), a specialist in the work of a feminist poet, in whom he suspects the very mysterious beloved of the poet. Mitchell and Bailey restore the love story of the past, along the way imbued with tender feelings for each other and enmity with other insidious philologists, aiming to steal their sensational find.
The Love Letter, 1999
Producer: Peter Chan
A charming sitcom about how one anonymous letter shook the life of an entire town. Helen, a divorced bookstore owner, accidentally discovers a romantic declaration of love. Who is it from, to whom is it addressed and how did it get to the store? This question is asked in turn by all the heroes, who are sure that the mysterious admirer is addressing them: the store manager Janet (the ironic Ellen DeGeneres, who overshadows all the other actors with her charm here), who has her eyes on firefighter George, student salesmen Jennifer and Johnny and herself Helen. They suspect each other of sympathy, some even take the initiative, couples converge and mix, situations escalate, relations get confused - in a word, everything happens that usually happens when people are afraid to speak openly about their feelings.
Book and Potato Peel Pie Lovers Club
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, 2018
Producer: Michael Newell
Another adaptation of the novel in the epistolary genre is a soul-saving English melodrama about the love of reading. A young, emancipated writer named Juliet (Lily James) has no way of coming up with a plot for the next book. A case helps - she receives a letter from the pig breeder Dawsey (Michiel Hausman) from the remote British island of Guernsey, who found a volume with her library mark and asks for advice on where to buy books for the islanders. The girl is fond of correspondence, in which more and more new inhabitants of the island enter. And they, in turn, tell her about their book club, which during the German occupation served as a cover for meetings and discussions of the military situation without the knowledge of fascist spies. Juliet decides to visit the island to get to know her respondents live and write a novel about them - and in the process finds not only new friends and love, but also learns a lot of bitter details about life in wartime.
Photos: Volga, Columbia Pictures, Buena Vista Pictures, Warner Bros., Yekaterinburg Art, Pioneer