The Last Thing He Wanted (film)

Last updated
The Last Thing He Wanted
The Last Thing He Wanted.jpg
Official release poster
Directed by Dee Rees
Produced by
Screenplay by
  • Marco Villalobos
  • Dee Rees
Based on The Last Thing He Wanted
by Joan Didion
Music by Tamar-kali
CinematographyBobby Bukowski
Edited byMako Kamitsuna
  • Elevated Films
  • Little Red Hen
  • The Fyzz Facility
Distributed by Netflix
Release date
  • January 27, 2020 (2020-01-27)(Sundance)
  • February 21, 2020 (2020-02-21)(United States)
Running time
115 minutes
  • United States
  • United Kingdom

The Last Thing He Wanted is a 2020 British-American political thriller film directed by Dee Rees based on the book of the same name by Joan Didion, from a screenplay by Rees and Marco Villalobos. It stars Anne Hathaway, Ben Affleck, Rosie Perez, Edi Gathegi, Mel Rodriguez, Toby Jones, and Willem Dafoe.


It had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on January 27, 2020. It was released on February 21, 2020, by Netflix. The film was heavily panned by critics, with criticism for its confused storyline, acting and writing.


A journalist stops her coverage of the 1984 U.S. Presidential election to care for her dying father. In the process, she inherits his position as an arms dealer for Central America, and learns of the Contra/Nicaragua Ollie North Scandal.



In September 2017, it was announced Dee Rees would direct, based upon the novel of the same name by Joan Didion, from a screenplay by Marco Villalobos. Cassian Elwes will produce the film, under his Elevated Films banner. [1] In February 2018, Anne Hathaway joined the cast of the film. [2] In June 2018, Willem Dafoe joined the cast of the film. [3] In July 2018, Ben Affleck, Toby Jones, Rosie Perez, Edi Gathegi, Mel Rodriguez and Carlos Leal joined the cast of the film. [4] [5]

Principal photography began on June 14, 2018, in Puerto Rico.[ citation needed ]


In May 2018, Netflix acquired distribution rights to the film. [6] It had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on January 27, 2020. [7] [8]


On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 5% based on 55 reviews, with a weighted average of 2.86/10. The site's critics consensus reads: "It'll be the last thing most viewers want, too." [9] On Metacritic, the film holds a weighted average rating of 35 out of 100, based on 16 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews". [10]

Nick Allen, a critic for, called the film "incomprehensible to an almost impressive degree [...] A true Netflix Original Film paradox – not even a pause and rewind button at the ready will help it make much sense." [11] Benjamin Lee of The Guardian called the movie "a two-hour film packed with too much and somehow not enough, The Last Thing He Wanted is a thing that no one wanted." [12]

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  2. Tartaglione, Nancy (February 18, 2018). "Anne Hathaway To Star In Dee Rees' 'The Last Thing He Wanted' – Berlin". Deadline Hollywood . Retrieved July 3, 2018.
  3. Kroll, Justin (June 1, 2018). "Willem Dafoe Joins Anne Hathaway in Dee Rees' 'The Last Thing He Wanted' (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved June 1, 2018.
  4. N'Duka, Amanda (July 10, 2018). "Ben Affleck, Toby Jones, Rosie Perez & Edi Gathegi Round Out Cast Of Dee Rees' 'The Last Thing He Wanted'". Deadline Hollywood . Retrieved July 10, 2018.
  5. N'Duka, Amanda (July 25, 2018). "Ser'Darius Blain Cast In 'Against All Enemies'; Chris O'Shea Joins 'Modern Persuasion'; Carlos Leal In 'The Last Thing He Wanted'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved July 25, 2018.
  6. Kit, Borys (May 24, 2018). "Netflix Reteams With 'Mudbound' Filmmaker Dee Rees for 'The Last Thing He Wanted' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter . Retrieved July 3, 2018.
  7. Siegel, Tatiana (December 4, 2019). "Sundance Unveils Female-Powered Lineup Featuring Taylor Swift, Gloria Steinem, Abortion Road Trip Drama". The Hollywood Reporter . Retrieved December 4, 2019.
  8. "The Last Thing He Wanted". Sundance Film Festival . Retrieved December 11, 2019.
  9. "The Last Thing He Wanted". Rotten Tomatoes . Retrieved February 21, 2020.
  10. "The Last Thing He Wanted Reviews". Metacritic . Retrieved February 21, 2020.
  11. Allen, Nick. "The Last Thing He Wanted movie review (2020) | Roger Ebert". Retrieved 2020-02-06.
  12. Lee, Benjamin (2020-01-28). "The Last Thing He Wanted review – misfiring Anne Hathaway thriller". The Guardian. ISSN   0261-3077 . Retrieved 2020-02-06.