Parents' Guide to


By Michael Ordona, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Psychological drama has mild language, sensuality.

Movie NR 2018 95 minutes
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Beneath its sci-fi/mystery trappings, this is a very low-key (perhaps too low-key) psychological drama about metaphorically finding balance in life. Jonathan slowly unfolds with an intriguing premise, which won't be spoiled here, that involves something akin to multiple personalities. (It's not about disassociative identity disorder; that's simply a comparison, but to go into more detail would reveal secrets best experienced over the course of the film.) Suffice it to say that Elgort plays multiple roles, and both of the characters he plays struggle to toe the line. He's effective in one of the roles; the other, we simply don't see enough to know. The rest of the cast does just fine in smaller, less-considered roles: Suki Waterhouse as the love interest, Patricia Clarkson as a doctor who knows the secret, and Matt Bomer in a cameo as a private eye.

Unfortunately, the movie is slow paced, and the proceedings often feel heavy handed, especially due to the use of music. The film raises more questions than it answers, which the filmmakers might regard as a virtue. In this case, however, those questions have to do with the movie's logic rather than the truth of its situations. There are quite a few "Why?" moments, including the suddenness and unexplained nature of the final twist. Most importantly, you have to wonder: Why the secrecy in the first place? That quality, from which the entire film arises, seems unnecessary. Ultimately, Jonathan sometimes reveals its hidden details in effective ways, even as its nagging questions and often oppressive seriousness detract from its exploration of the story's themes.

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