the last thing he wanted trailer – ‘The Last Thing He Wanted’ Review Variety

The action of Democracy takes place in 1975, as America finally disengages from Vietnam. Elena McMahon, the sleepwalking heroine, wanders into international intrigue in the last days of the Cold War.

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The Last Thing He WantedElena McMahon is a reporter for the Washington Post and the unlikely inheritor of her father’s complex and secretive life as an arms dealer for the U.S. Government in Central America. Set in the Central American islands or thereabouts, in the early 1980’s when all those arms deals and shady happenings where being whispered about in certain circles, this book seems to me to How fabulous is JD? She is so consistently good and so erudite that it is a joy to open the page and let the words flow over you. This is a great story, I really enjoyed the way she played out the thriller aspect, and I believe it will be made into a movie soon – in the right hands this could be brilliant.

Dee Rees (Mudbound, Pariah) directed the film, working off an adaptation screenplay she co-wrote with Marco Villalobos. Joan Didion was born in California and lives in New York City. She is the author of five novels and seven previous books of nonfiction.

Joan Didion (1934- ) is a novelist, journalist, and memoirist from California who for over 50 years has written some of the sharpest and most evocative analyses of American culture, politics, and mise en scène. Her novels capture a victorious postwar people struggling with anxieties, doubts, and the chloroform of abundance. Although the literary influences on her seem clear (Joseph Conrad, Hemingway, noir, perhaps some Beat), she is justly famous for her own cool, distanced, and all-seeing style. Her writing imbues us with awe. If you want to understand America, you must read Didion.


The basic plot revolves around the Iran-Contra Affair’s arms-for-drugs and the female protagonist finds herself in a dangerous situation. Elena becomes an arms dealer for the US government in Central America and deals will all types of people including the spies, militants and many such opponents. She also has to deal and struggle because of the errors made by her father in the past. This is all we know about the plot as of now. As the film will take some time to release more updates about the plot is expected to be revealed soon.

The Last Thing He Wanted is a 2020 political crime drama thriller film based on the book of the same name by Joan Didion. The film is written by Dee Rees and Marco Villalobos, directed by Dee Rees for Netflix, stars Anne Hathaway , Willem Dafoe , Ben Affleck , Toby Jones, Rosie Perez.

Still, as the trailer shows, this familial guilt trip thrusts Elena into classic world of international intrigue and danger, although it also allows her to start chasing down leads as she tries to uncover just how these weapons are getting to Central America. Unsurprisingly, Elena attracts the attention of the government, and she’s forced to contend with a top official, played by Ben Affleck , bent on stopping her investigation.

That’s my Iran- Contra novel, and you have to read it in one sitting because it’s got so much plot.” Joan Didion, during her In Depth” interview on Book TV, about 20 years ago. I remembered her giving the interview; what I didn’t remember were her thoughts about how the book should be read.

Oh, Dick’s job? Illegal gun runner, selling to the very people Elena has been trying expose. It’s a big enough ask on paper, but filtered through a film that’s both sprawling and thin, it becomes incomprehensible. Cheesy flashbacks and callbacks and voiceovers attempt to paper over certain particularly messy sequences, but the film remains incomprehensible. At nearly two hours long, The Last Thing He Wanted” still feels as if every other scene was left on the editing room floor, perhaps in an attempt to echo the looser style of Didion’s novel. Nothing connects, nothing gels, and every thread is lost.

Within days of the tragedy, Didion had written: Life changes fast. Life changes in the instant. You sit down to dinner and life as you know it ends.” These words would become the first lines of her next book, an examination of the meaning of her husband’s death and a chronicle of grief observed as she adjusted to life without John and continued to care for Quintana, who recovered from her illness only to be struck by a massive haematoma while returning to Los Angeles in March 2004, days after her father’s funeral. By the end of that year, Didion had completed the manuscript. In late August 2005, a month before publication, Quintana died of pancreatitis. Didion decided not to revise, and The Year of Magical Thinking was published without reference to Quintana’s death.

Edi Gathegi, Anne Hathaway, Dee Rees, Rosie Perez, and Willem Dafoe attend The Last Thing He Wanted premiere. Hathaway will be starring in The Last Thing He Wanted, an adaptation of a Joan Didion political thriller directed by Rees. In the end, the biggest question this film leaves us with is not who’s profiting from American-made wars or why, as Elena keeps asking, but how much richer this story might have been if it had had room to breathe.

THE heroines of Joan Didion’s novels walk out of their lives, only to find that there is nowhere else to go. Where else would there be? We can think of Maria Wyeth compulsively driving the freeways of Los Angeles in ”Play It as It Lays” or shopping as if for a family because she can’t bear the thought of the idle and lonely lives implied by the single lamb chop and the two cans of cat food, the small tube of toothpaste. Or the bleak outrage of Inez Christian in ”Democracy” when she is told by an intern that for modern medicine life and death are ”not necessarily an either-or situation.” ”Technical death” is said to be ”something everyone could live with” – except the person who is technically dead, of course.

Didion’s sparsely written and quick paced thriller should make for excellent source material for the upcoming Netflix film of the same name. Directed by Dee Rees and starring Anne Hathaway, Ben Affleck, Rosie Perez and Willem Dafoe, the film will premiere at the Sundance Film Festival before it premieres on Netflix on February 21, 2020.

This certainly has Didion’s sharp prose. It also evokes the intelligence-ish dealing game well. It discombobulated me a bit more than I could quite keep up with though. I felt a bit lost most of the time and didn’t end up with it as much as I felt I should be.

Didion’s fifth novel (Democracy, 1984, etc.) is further proof that she’s a better journalist than novelist. This fragmentary, reflexive exercise in fiction is full of annoying narrative gestures—repetitions, self-criticisms—that distract from a plot worthy of a conspiracy-obsessed age.


A veteran D.C. journalist loses the thread of her own narrative when a guilt-propelled errand for her father thrusts her from byline to unwitting subject in the very story she’s trying to break. Adapted from Joan Didion’s namesake novel.


Anne Hathaway, the 2013 Les Misérables Best Supporting Actress Oscar winner, comes into this film off December 2019 drama Dark Waters, and will soon be seen in director Robert Zemeckis’s October-scheduled remake of The Witches as villainess the Grand High Witch.

The plot is what interests our narrator, a journalist who knew Elena McMahon and is writing an article about Treat Morrison, the verbally prudent diplomat cited just above. The journalist started her story, she tells us, in 1994, and her final dateline is Jan. 23, 1996. She had thought of making herself a character in the narrative, say a foreign service officer at the embassy on the unnamed island, but settles for the posture of what she calls ”the not quite omniscient author.” She has seen all the official sources and talked to some of the principals, but what she has put together is quite different from any other account on offer. She is giving us the secret history of a secret history. The story comes to us in fragments, out of sequence, full of mystery, littered with glances at the movie it might make – will make, if we are lucky.

Log Line: The story is based on the 1996 novel by Joan Didion and centers on hardscrabble journalist Elena McMahon who finds herself on dangerous ground as the Iran Contra Affair’s arms for drugs plot reaches its tipping point.

PLOT: A journalist ( Anne Hathaway ) covering the war in Nicaragua circa 1984, is thrown into danger when she agrees to do a weapons deal for her gunrunner father ( Willem Dafoe ), who’s suffering from dementia. The story is based on the 1996 novel by Joan Didion and centers on hardscrabble journalist Elena McMahon who finds herself on dangerous ground as the Iran Contra Affair’s arms for drugs plot reaches its tipping point.

The Last Thing He Wanted does not, however, possess a coherent plot structure of the kind that may be implied by this brief summary. In fact, Didion deliberately seeks to disabuse her readers of any expectations of coherence, fictional or otherwise. As in her previous novel, Democracy (1984), the narrator of The Last Thing He Wanted flip-flops back and forth in time, constantly disclaims authorial omniscience, and makes frequent self-conscious references to the construction of the story before us.

The Last Thing He Wanted is based on the romantic thriller novel by Didion published in 1996. The story centers around a Washington Post journalist who quits her job to look after her ailing father, but in a turn of events, finds herself recruited to be an arms dealer for the U.S. Government in Central America.

Like Play it as it Lays , and, I suspect, most-if-not-all of Didion’s novels, the protagonist, Elena McMahon, is a woman becoming unhinged. The writing conveys an overpowering anxiety, whilst Elena maintains an aura of perfect control. Didion uses tricks like telling us when she (Elena) has stopped crying without ever telling us she had began. Or giving us a running record of how many hours it has been since she has last eaten. Again, like Play it as it Lays, the protagonist confronts a personal emptiness; they try to invoke meaningfulness through their family, their daughter, their ex-husband. Largely unsuccessfully. They have become too isolated by society, too absorbed with the abyss.

No one else writes like Joan Didion, and 10 books into her career – The Last Thing He Wanted is her fifth novel – her spare prose style has calcified into a set of trademark tics. Coolly detached, free of both adjectives and humor and fond of repeated phrasings, Didion’s sentences march down the page with the weary, jaded poise of an haute couture model striding into a Burger King.

Dee Rees (Mudbound, Pariah) directed the film, working off an adaptation screenplay she co-wrote with Marco Villalobos. Joan Didion was born in California and lives in New York City. She is the author of five novels and seven previous books of nonfiction.

The Last Thing He Wanted centers on a hardscrabble journalist named Elena McMahon (Hathaway) who inherits her father’s position as a dealmaker — an arms dealmaker. She soon finds herself on dangerous ground as the Iran-Contra Affair’s arms-for-drugs plot reaches its tipping point.

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