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The Last Thing He Wanted


Journalist and single mother Elena McMahon (Anne Hathaway) has rigorously investigated Contra activity in Central America for years. Frustrated when her coverage is censored, relief comes in an unexpected package: her acerbic father (Willem Dafoe) falls ill and leaves her a series of unfinished and unsavory arms deals in that very region. Now a pawn in a risky and unfamiliar game, surrounded by live ammunition in more ways than one, and alongside a U.S. state official (Ben Affleck) with whom she has a checkered past, Elena needs to parse her own story to survive. With her disenchanting life awaiting her back home, she is forced to consider what she really wants.

Director Dee Rees (Pariah, Mudbound) is a Sundance Institute Vanguard Award winner and a lab fellow several times over, and she returns to the Sundance Film Festival with this adaptation of Joan Didion’s novel by the same name. Seasoned performances by Hathaway, Affleck, and Dafoe match the sobriety of the subject matter and convey the questionable intentions, inscrutable connections, and bitter fates of these complex characters.

Closed captioning, audio description, and enhanced audio for assistive listening are available for this film.

YEAR 2019

CATEGORY Premieres


RUN TIME 115 min


EMAIL sundance2020requests@netflix.com



Artist Bio

Dee Rees

Writer/director Dee Rees is an alumna of New York University's graduate film program and of Sundance Institute's Directors and Screenwriters Lab. In 2018, Rees became the first Black woman nominated for an Academy Award in the Best Adapted Screenplay category, for her highly acclaimed film Mudbound (2017). Her 1980s political thriller, The Last Thing He Wanted, is an adaptation of the novel by Joan Didion and will star Anne Hathaway as hardened journalist Elena McMahon.