The Last Thing He Wanted Review: A Waste Of A Talented Cast

Netflix's newest original film, The Last Thing He Wanted, gathers a spectacular cast of top names and then squanders their abilities on a mediocre script.
the last thing he wanted review

The Last Thing He Wanted is based on a book by the same name by Joan Didion. A veteran D.C. journalist (Anne Hathaway) loses the thread of her own narrative when a guilt-propelled errand for her father (Willem Dafoe) thrusts her from byline to unwitting subject in the very story she’s trying to break.

The Last Thing He Wanted Is Also The Last Thing We Want

anne hathaway in the last thing he wanted

After great Netflix Originals like The Irishman or Marriage Story, there were high hopes for the upcoming slate of films. But The Last Thing He Wanted is a really big letdown. The movie tries to be a lot of things: thriller, political thriller, drama and even action. It tries to combine these genres into one movie, and it fails badly.


Starting off with the cast, who is extremely talented: Anne Hathaway, Ben Affleck and Willem Dafoe. All these big names, but they were given nothing. Anne Hathaway delivers the best performance and really tries to carry the movie on her shoulders, but it’s just not enough. Ben Affleck and Willem Dafoe really looked like they didn’t even try because they got nothing to do. Nothing in the script gives them the opportunity to shine.

The script itself isn’t well written, either. The narrative is way too twisted and is really uninteresting to follow. The characters, except Elena McMahon (Anne Hathaway), have no layers or personality at all. The dialogue is cliche, or else is just political discussion which almost serve no purpose. Elena McMahon may not be flat, but she gets suddenly characterizations which were never mentioned before. And then of course it has this twist ending, which everyone has seen coming miles away. The script is a mess.

But the technical aspects of the movie aren’t much better. The cinematography is bad. In the first act, we start off with this high resolution camera that captures everything really clearly; even the background is in focus during almost every scene. But then suddenly, in the second and third act, the camera looks worse, and everything in the background is blurred and out of focus. It just feels like you are watching two different movies.

All the scenes are basically shot the same, with a few exceptions, but the cinematography overall looks just boring. There are a few great shots in the beginning and nearly at the end – one shot of the ocean in particular looks really great. But that’s simply not enough to make you want to look at the movie. The lighting is really bad; there is nothing else to say, other than it just looks cheap and bad. The editing has two chronological mistakes, which also shouldn’t happen.

The movie uses a lot of voiceover, which only really worked pretty well in one scene. Other than that, the editing is solid, but it’s far away from good. The score is solid and fitting, but nothing great, except from one theme, which was pretty good.

Overall this movie is just an uninspired adaption from a well-received book, which has a great cast who got utterly wasted and nothing to do. It just feels like that the material doesn’t really work as a movie. The technicals didn’t work either, so we get a boring movie that is also boring to look at and probably will be forgotten in the next two weeks. What a waste!

The Last Thing He Wanted is currently available to stream of Netflix, with a runtime of 115 min. It is directed by Dee Rees and stars Anne Hathaway, Ben Affleck, Willem Dafoe, Onata Aprile, David Vadim, Toby Jones, Edi Gathegi, Rosie Perez, and Mel Rodriguez. The film is rated R for language, some violence, disturbing images and brief nudity.

What do you guys think of The Last Thing He Wanted? Did you see the movie? How do you like it? Or aren’t you even planning to watch it? Let’s discuss everything in the comments down below.


Finn Schlote

Finn Schlote

Finn thinks and talks about movies all day, has a strong interest in how movies are made and he loves great cinematography. Comedy or horror, arthouse or big-budget blockbuster, Finn watches everything. He is a passionate Blu-Ray collector and is still waiting for a Jumper (2008) sequel.