JONATHAN – A Review by Cynthia Flores
Jonathan is a very stylized film. It's shot at weird angles and sets a moody tone. We see Jonathan (Ansel Elgort), a part-time draftsman that wants to be a designer. He is in control from seven am to seven pm. The other brother, Jon, that works as a temp in a law office and lives only during the latter half of the day seven pm to seven am, and he is the cool one. Each sleeps only four hours to make it all work. They communicate using video recordings of themselves filling in the details from their lives. As brothers they’re close, no pun intended. You see, in this sci-fi-tinged drama, the two brothers are living very separate lives inside the same body. It’s called single body multi-consciousness. The person that coined the phrase is Dr. Mina Nariman (Patricia Clarkson). She has treated the brothers since they were children. She implanted a device behind their right ear that resets their brain allowing them to live completely separate lives with no memories of what the other has done.
Everything is working like clockwork until Jon meets and falls for a beautiful young woman named Elena (Suki Waterhouse). The rule to make it work between the brothers is no girlfriends. They could just have flings but no emotional attachments because it would affect the other one.
The brothers fight over the fact that Jon has to break up with Elena. Jonathan is lonely and misses his brother's messages so he tells Elena the whole truth so she can help him get through to him in recordings. In doing so he falls in love with her as well, leading to tragic results. The affair sets into motion an imbalance between the brothers.
The film Jonathan is a tense and interesting dark fable about brotherly love and a love triangle of sorts. As in most fables, terrible things can happen when love is betrayed, and revenge enters the picture. Ansel Elgort has to carry this whole film. He does a good job playing such different characters that are losing their grip on reality.
As you go deeper into the film, some of the rules of the set up seem too far-fetched. Not that two people sharing one body is all that believable, to begin with, but that is what we bought into at the beginning of this film.
Jonathan is a trippy look at identity and the bond between brothers. It’s not a perfect film, but it is worth watching. I give this film a B rating just based on Elgort’s performances alone.
Directed by Bill Oliver
Written By Gregory Davis, Peter Nickowitz, Bill Oliver
Running Time 1hr 35min
Drama / Sci-Fi
Limited Release November 16th Bluebonnet Cinema
Starring: Ansel Elgort, Patricia Clarkson, Suki Waterhouse
The Selig Rating Scale:
A – Excellent movie, well worth the price.
B – Good movie
C – OK movie
D – No need to rush. Save it for a rainy day.
F – Good that I saw it on the big screen but wish I hadn't paid for it.