The Last Thing He Wanted (2020)
Director: Dee Rees
Writers: Marco Villalboos and Dee Rees
Starring: Anne Hathaway, Ben Affleck, Rosie Perez, Edi Gathegi, Mel Rodriguez, Toby Jones, and Willem Dafoe
Plot: After her father falls ill, a reporter finds herself tangled up in his shady business practices.
Review: The Last Thing He Wanted made me feel dumb. I really tried my best to follow along. I had the volume cranked all the way up on my tv, I tossed my phone to the side, and I even turned on subtitles for some parts. No dice though. This movie was just too much for me. I was still ready to give it a positive review though because the things it does right it does really right. And, let’s face it. I can be a bit dumb sometimes. So, I thought I’d just go along for the ride (which was confusing but kind of fun) and then do some research afterwards to make sure I understood the gist of the plot. As it turns out, I wasn’t alone. This movie has a whopping 6% on Rotten Tomatoes. Every review basically said the same thing too. This movie is waaaaaay too complex. It doesn’t explain things and makes no sense. I felt vindicated. I’m not dumb. It’s the movie that is dumb. Take that, movie!
Like I said though, there are a lot of things to enjoy about The Last Thing He Wanted. Anne Hathaway turns in an excellent performance. She plays a really complex character with a complicated past and does it really well. This especially comes out in her interactions with her family. There are a couple scenes where her daughter basically explains how disappointed she is with her mother and the way her life has unfolded recently. It’s heartbreaking stuff. Likewise, the relationship between Hathaway and her characters father, played by Willem Dafoe, felt really authentic. Even without them going into details, you could feel the chemistry and rough past between the two of them. Actually, that’s probably why I was almost tricked into thinking the movie was good. The main character, her past, and the bond between her family were all just so compelling.
The action too was impressive. Everything felt like there was actual tension. You never knew if our main character was going to make it out of these situations unharmed. That’s rare for a movie this big. Most of the time it feels like they’re wearing plot armor. I didn’t get that sense here. There were a couple of scenes where I legitimately was worried for her safety. I attribute that to the director, Dee Rees. I’d be totally cool with her doing some kind of big budget action flick next.
Once the movie was finished, I legitimately didn’t know how I felt about it though. Everything was so good. But, I had no idea what was going on. Like I said before, I thought I was the dumb one. So, I Googled “The Last Thing He Wanted” plot synopsis. The first thing that came up was a link to Digital Spy’s article which started with “To fully explain just what happened in The Last Thing He Wanted, you have to read the book.” Ah, hell nah! Listen, I’m not against the idea of reading. It’s cool. I enjoy it. However, I should not have to read the book beforehand for the film to make sense. It should be its own thing. That just means you failed at translating something that worked on its own. That means you’re bad at your job. Or at least you were here. The article then went into a really long, detailed synopsis but I’d stopped caring at that point. I had made up my mind. While this movie may have had redeeming moments, it ultimately failed at telling the story it had set out to tell. In my opinion, that absolutely makes it not good.
TL;DR: The Last Thing He Wanted features some good acting and tense scenes, but failed at translating it’s overly complicated story to the big screen.
Score: 4/10 (Bad)