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The Last Thing He Wanted (2020)

1:50 | Trailer
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.


Dee Rees


Marco Villalobos (screenplay by), Dee Rees (screenplay by) | 1 more credit »
2,042 ( 344)
1 win. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Anne Hathaway ... Elena McMahon
Ben Affleck ... Treat Morrison
Rosie Perez ... Alma Guerrero
Willem Dafoe ... Dick McMahon
Edi Gathegi ... Jones
Mel Rodriguez ... Barry Sedlow
Onata Aprile ... Cat McMahon
Toby Jones ... Paul Schuster
Carlos Leal ... Max Epperson aka Bob Weir
Ben Chase ... Max Berquist
Julian Gamble ... Secretary George Shultz
Robert Sedgwick ... Stuart James (as Rob Sedgwick)
Bill Kelly ... General Gus Sharp (as Billy Kelly)
David Vadim ... Buck Pearson
César Galindez César Galindez ... Red Truck Driver (as Cesar Galindez)


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.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language, some violence, disturbing images and brief nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


Ben Affleck replaced Nicolas Cage. See more »


[first lines]
Elena McMahon: Some real things have happened lately. First, I wanted to know who. Who chose money over life? Steel and lead over blood and spirit? Who was it overlooked... the living? Who let distance and basic difference decide whose man was left behind bleeding out, and whose men medevac'd to safety? Who the war pig? Who the profiteer? Who the cold heart? The vapid soul?
Elena McMahon: And second... Second, I wanted to know why.
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Crazy Credits

The teletype tape snippets in the closing credits spell out the person's name. See more »


Featured in WatchMojo: Top 10 Worst Movies of 2020 (2020) See more »


Escape (I Need a Break)
Performed by Whodini
Written by Larry K. Smith (as Lawrence Smith) and Jalil Hutchins
Courtesy of Sony Music Entertainment UK Limited
By arrangement with Sony Music Entertainment
See more »

User Reviews

Good Cast in an Otherwise Confused and Disjointed Movie
21 February 2020 | by TwistedContentSee all my reviews

Dee Rees, the director of the much acclaimed "Mudbound", offers up her second Netflix collaboration - "The Last Thing He Wanted", a crime thriller based on Joan Didion's novel of the same name. The cast includes such stars as Anna Hathaway, Willem Dafoe & Ben Affleck, also Rosie Perez and Toby Jones. What could possibly go wrong? Apparently a whole lot.

"The Last Thing He Wanted" is, in a certain way, an annoying experience. Its main strength are the acting performances, the highlights include a content and contained lead performance by Anna Hathaway and a well fitted supporting role for Willem Dafoe. Rosie Perez and Ben Affleck were good as well, but, frankly, they weren't given enough to do to really stand out. It's a mildly frustrating watch because the star-studded power seems wasted on an otherwise weak and confused movie. Or rather the story and screenplay. I can only suppose it's an unsuccessful adaptation of the aforementioned novel. Visually, "The Last Thing He Wanted" is shot very well (and uses a peculiar aspect ratio, but with no complaints), looks and sounds like an above average Hollywood-type thriller. But all of that only matters so much on the background of the script which feels like a lot of things and almost none of them are good - it's disjointed, unfocused, doesn't stick together, doesn't carry the weight it should (I'd take a guess though that the filmmakers think otherwise) and just disappoints altogether. While watching I felt like each scene is somehow to be taken on its own terms, every time the previous one didn't feel important much anymore. What I'm trying to say is that a rather simple story telling has gotten all tangled up here and it's a huge black shadow hovering over "The Last Thing He Wanted".

Despite the quite enormous flaw/s, "The Last Thing He Wanted" possesses one or two redeeming qualities. I'll go ahead and assume, probably correctly, that this movie is going to be a bore to a lot of people, but if the viewer commits, it's possible to squeeze out an eyebrow-raising evening 5/10, which is the most I can give it with a clear conscience.

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English | Spanish | French

Release Date:

21 February 2020 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Last Thing He Wanted See more »

Filming Locations:

Puerto Rico See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Atmos



Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See full technical specs »

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