Review: “The Last Thing He Wanted,” more like the last thing we needed

Charlie Matthews '20, Staff Writer

The Last Thing He Wanted, a Netflix original film, was made to keep the audience guessing, but at the end, it left me unsatisfied and yearning for more clarity.

In the movie, Anne Hathaway stars as Elena McMahon, a journalist who is tasked with a dangerous assignment in El Salvador in 1982. She escapes with her colleague, but when she gets back home in Washington, she feels an obligation to return to South America to finish her story on the United States’ involvement with Nicaraguan rebel groups.

While the idea of the story is solid, the film fell flat in several different aspects. The film, which is intended to form as a cross between a thriller and a drama film, instead ended up as a mess of nonsensical plot points. As a story about a relationship between a daughter (Elena), and her father (played by Willem Dafoe), the plotline seems to fizzle out when Dafoe’s character suddenly disappears from the story and an awful explanation is given as to why his character left the story. The details revolving around the the main story, which is primarily about imperialism during the Reagan administration, come off as if someone is reading a Wikipedia page.

The potential for good in the film is there. The film is actually based off of a 1996 novel written by Joan Didion. While the statement “the book is always better than the movie” is cliche, I’m sure it rings true for this particular film, although I have never read the book. According to Google, 66% of it’s users “liked” the book. That is a much larger number than I would expect for a film that was so atrocious.

While the idea of the film and it’s plotline is intriguing, I was left uninterested and utterly disappointed in the weakness of both the plotline and the details given surrounding the story.

Rating: 0.6/10