Opening 23 May 2019
Jonathan and John are identical twins with similar names; even more: they inhabit the same human body. Jonathan lives in the body from seven in the morning to seven at night. In this time he works as a successful architect in the office of his boss Hans Lieber (Douglas Hedge), who would love to see Jonathan take on more projects, which would earn huge recognition, but Jonathan can never work overtime. He is fixed to his time frame, no exceptions. At night he goes to bed, while John gets up and lives the next twelve hours. Perhaps because he is a night person, John has fewer responsibilities and more opportunities to hang out, such as in a bar, where he meets Elena (Suki Waterhouse). Finally, after one hour (in a 95-minute film), the two boys actually confront each other face to face. Otherwise they leave recorded/filmed messages of themselves talking into a camcorder. This communication enables them to put two halves together into one life. All goes well until Jonathan learns about Elena. A girlfriend is a no go. He hires a private detective Ross Craine (Matt Bomer), who delivers details. Jonathan stalks Elena, who recognizes him as John and is surprised to see him in daylight. Neither boy can cope with the situation of falling in love, but they have their monitor, Dr. Mina Nariman (Patricia Clarkson). She has known them since childhood, even implanting chips behind their ears to help with the communication. John disappears and there is no sign of him even a week later. Is this the solution?
The best part of the film is actor Ansel Elgort, who plays both roles, naturally. Otherwise, there is much discussion about problem solving. Some of my colleagues call this another version of Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde; others call it science fiction. I call it overwhelming discussions about individuality, basic human rights, sacrificing for the good of others, love versus sex. This psychological twittering often went beyond my poor brain, clear up to the final sentence “Do you speak French?” What does that mean or have to do with anything? Filmed in New York City, often looking like Brooklyn, the ominous, low-key background music is by Brooke Blair and Will Blair. It premiered at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival and then showed at other festivals including in Vancouver, London, and Stockholm. Not to be confused with the film Jonathan by Piotr. J. Lewandowski, which played at the 2016 Berlinale. (Becky Tan)