You Were Never Really Here
You Were Never Really Here (released as A Beautiful Day in France) is a 2017 psychological action thriller film written and directed by Lynne Ramsay. Based on the 2013 novella of the same name by Jonathan Ames, it stars Joaquin Phoenix, Ekaterina Samsonov, Alex Manette, John Doman, and Judith Roberts.
|You Were Never Really Here|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Lynne Ramsay|
|Screenplay by||Lynne Ramsay|
|Based on||You Were Never Really Here|
by Jonathan Ames
|Music by||Jonny Greenwood|
|Edited by||Joe Bini|
|Distributed by||StudioCanal (UK)|
Amazon Studios (US)
|Box office||$7.4 million|
An unfinished version of the film premiered at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival in competition, where Ramsay won the Best Screenplay award and Phoenix won the award for Best Actor. The film was released by Studio Canal in the UK, on 9 March 2018, and by Amazon Studios in the U.S., where it began a limited release in Los Angeles and New York on 6 April 2018, and a wide release on 20 April.
Joe is a traumatized hired gun who rescues trafficked girls, using brutal methods against their captors. He cares for his elderly mother in his childhood home in New York City. Joe has flashbacks of the abuse he and his mother faced from his violent father, and his brutal past in the military and FBI, and is troubled by suicidal thoughts.
As he comes home one night, Joe is seen by Moises, the son of Angel who acts as middleman between Joe and his handler John McCleary. Joe tells McCleary that Angel knows his address and may pose a security risk. McCleary assigns Joe a new job: a New York State Senator, Albert Votto, has offered a large sum of money to discreetly rescue his abducted daughter, Nina. He gives Joe the address of a brothel for wealthy patrons sent via an anonymous text.
Joe stakes out the brothel, kills several security guards and patrons, and rescues Nina. While Joe and Nina await Votto's arrival in a hotel room, the news reports that Votto has committed suicide. Police officers gain access to the room with the help of the desk clerk, before killing the clerk and taking Nina. One of the officers attempts to kill Joe, but is killed by Joe who then escapes.
Joe finds that government agents have killed McCleary, Angel and Moises, in search of Joe's address. Arriving back at his own home, Joe discovers that two agents have murdered his mother and are waiting for him. He kills one and mortally wounds the other, who reveals that Governor Williams is directing the authorities to cover up the trafficking, and that Nina is Williams's favorite.
Joe gives his mother a water burial. He loads his own pockets with stones and allows himself to sink into water with the intent of killing himself, but envisions Nina and swims back to the surface.
Joe follows Williams to his country home and fights his way in, but discovers Williams with his throat slit. He discovers Nina seated at a dining room table, alongside a bloody straight razor. Later, as they eat at a diner, Joe has a violent suicidal fantasy and passes out. Nina wakes him, telling him, "It's a beautiful day." He agrees, and they leave together.
- Joaquin Phoenix as Joe
- Ekaterina Samsonov as Nina Votto
- Alex Manette as Senator Albert Votto
- John Doman as John McCleary
- Judith Roberts as Joe's Mother
- Dante Pereira-Olson as Young Joe
- Alessandro Nivola as Governor Williams
- Frank Pando as Angel
- Vinicius Damasceno as Moises
- Louis Glynn uncredited
- Minas Maroudas uncredited
On 11 May 2016, it was reported that Lynne Ramsay would write and direct an adaptation of Jonathan Ames' novella You Were Never Really Here, starring Joaquin Phoenix. The project would be shopped to Cannes buyers. Although it was initially reported that A24 had acquired the project, Amazon Studios bought U.S. rights to You Were Never Really Here on 13 May 2016. Principal photography took place during August 2016 in and around New York City. On 2 May 2017, it was confirmed that composer Jonny Greenwood would score the film. The film was still a work in progress when it premiered at the Cannes Film Festival on 27 May 2017.
You Were Never Really Here received a seven-minute standing ovation at its Cannes Film Festival premiere on 27 May 2017. Critics lauded Phoenix's performance, Ramsay's direction, musical score and the editing. Phoenix won the festival's Best Actor Award and Lynne Ramsay won the Best Screenplay Award.
On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 89% based on 238 reviews, with an average rating of 8.2/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Bracingly elevated by a typically committed lead performance from Joaquin Phoenix, You Were Never Really Here confirms writer-director Lynne Ramsay as one of modern cinema's most unique—and uncompromising—voices." On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 84 out of 100, based on 41 critics, indicating "universal acclaim".
Sheila O'Malley of RogerEbert.com gave the film 4 out of 4 stars, saying that the film "is a taut and almost unbearably intense 90-minutes, without an ounce of fat on it. Ramsay doesn't give you a second to breathe." Guy Lodge for Variety said Ramsay may be the world's "greatest working filmmaker," and called the film "astonishing... a stark, sinewy, slashed-to-the-bone hitman thriller far more concerned with the man than the hit."
Some have noted similarities with You Were Never Really Here and the 1976 film Taxi Driver with both films involving friendships between an adult male and an underage prostitute while both also explore the seedy underworlds of Manhattan and New York respectively.
|Award||Date of ceremony||Category||Recipient(s) and nominee(s)||Result||Ref(s)|
|British Academy Film Awards||10 February 2019||Outstanding British Film||Lynne Ramsay, Rosa Attab, Pascal Caucheteux, and James Wilson|||Nominated|||
|British Independent Film Awards||2 December 2018||Best British Independent Film||Lynne Ramsay, Pascal Caucheteux, Rosa Attab, James Wilson and Rebecca O’Brien||Nominated|||
|Best Director||Lynne Ramsay||Nominated|
|Best Actor||Joaquin Phoenix||Nominated|
|Best Screenplay||Lynne Ramsay||Nominated|
|Best Cinematography||Thomas Townend||Nominated|
|Best Editing||Joe Bini||Nominated|
|Best Music||Jonny Greenwood||Won|
|Best Sound||You Were Never Really Here||Won|
|Cannes Film Festival||28 May 2017||Palme d'Or||You Were Never Really Here||Nominated|||
|Best Actor||Joaquin Phoenix||Won|
|Best Screenplay||Lynne Ramsay||Won|
|Independent Spirit Awards||23 February 2019||Best Feature||Rosa Attab, Pascal Caucheteux, Rebecca O’Brien, Lynne Ramsay and James Wilson||Nominated|||
|Best Director||Lynne Ramsay||Nominated|
|Best Male Lead||Joaquin Phoenix||Nominated|
|Best Editing||Joe Bini||Won|
|Noir Film Festival||9 December 2017||Special Jury Award||Lynne Ramsay||Won|||
|Black Lion||You Were Never Really Here||Nominated|
- "A Beautiful Day". Centre National de la Cinématographie. 8 November 2017. Retrieved 19 January 2018.
- "You Were Never Really Here". The Numbers. Nash Information Services. Retrieved 8 June 2018.
- "The 2017 Official Selection". Cannes Film Festival. 13 April 2017. Retrieved 13 April 2017.
- Winfrey, Graham (13 April 2017). "2017 Cannes Film Festival Announces Lineup: Todd Haynes, Sofia Coppola, 'Twin Peaks' and More". IndieWire. Penske Business Media. Retrieved 13 April 2017.
- Debruge, Peter (28 May 2017). "2017 Cannes Film Festival Award Winners Announced". Variety. Penske Business Media. Retrieved 28 May 2017.
- D'Alessandro, Anthony (2 October 2017). "Joaquin Phoenix Noir 'You Were Never Really Here' Gets February Release". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Business Media. Retrieved 2 October 2017.
- Calvario, Liz (11 May 2016). "Joaquin Phoenix To Star In Lynne Ramsay's Sex Trafficking Thriller 'You Were Never Really Here'". IndieWire. Penske Business Media. Retrieved 23 August 2016.
- Keslassy, Elsa; Setoodeh, Ramin (13 May 2016). "Cannes: Amazon Sweeps in To Buy Joaquin Phoenix's 'You Were Never Really Here'". Variety. Penske Business Media. Retrieved 23 August 2016.
- Christine (18 August 2016). "Thursday, Aug. 18 Filming Locations for Spider-Man: Homecoming, Chicago Fire, Homeland, Bull, & more!". On Location Vacations. Retrieved 23 August 2016.
- "NJ DOS - NJ Film - New Jersey Filmography". www.nj.gov.
- Lyttelton, Oliver (2 May 2017). "Jonny Greenwood Scoring Lynne Ramsay's 'You Were Never Really Here' With Joaquin Phoenix". IndieWire. Penske Business Media. Retrieved 2 May 2017.
- Romney, Jonathan (27 May 2017). "You Were Never Really Here review: Joaquin Phoenix storms Lynne Ramsay's kidnap thriller". Sight & Sound. British Film Institute. Retrieved 19 January 2018.
- Pritchard, Tiffany (30 May 2017). "Lynne Ramsay: 'You Were Never Really Here' isn't finished". Screen Daily. Screen International. Retrieved 19 January 2018.
- Cannes reception:
- D'Alessandro, Anthony (28 May 2017). "How Lynne Ramsay Got Over 'Jane Got A Gun' & Embraced Joaquin Phoenix Noir 'You Were Never Really Here' – Cannes". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Business Media. Retrieved 28 May 2017.
- Kiang, Jessica (26 May 2017). "Lynne Ramsay's Extraordinary 'You Were Never Really Here' Starring Joaquin Phoenix [Cannes Review]". The Playlist. Penske Business Media. Retrieved 28 May 2017.
- "You Were Never Really Here (2018)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved 29 December 2018.
- "You Were Never Really Here Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 29 December 2018.
- O'Malley, Sheila (6 April 2018). "You Were Never Really Here". RogerEbert.com. Ebert Digital LLC. Retrieved 13 April 2018.
- Lodge, Guy (26 May 2017). "Film Review: 'You Were Never Really Here'". Variety. Penske Business Media. Retrieved 26 March 2018.
- Abraham, Raphael (29 June 2018). "You Were Never Really Here — Taxi Driver for the age of Uber". Financial Times. Retrieved 7 August 2019.
- Pickett, Leah (12 April 2018). "You Were Never Really Here updates Taxi Driver to an even colder urban landscape". Chicago Reader. Retrieved 7 August 2019.
- "EE British Academy Film Awards Nominees in 2019". BAFTA. 9 January 2019. Retrieved 25 January 2019.
- Brown, Mark (31 October 2018). "The Favourite dominates British independent film award nominations". The Guardian. Retrieved 31 October 2018.
- Debruge, Peter (28 May 2017). "2017 Cannes Film Festival Award Winners Announced". Variety. Retrieved 28 May 2017.
- Kate Erbland (16 November 2018). "2019 Independent Spirit Award Nominations". Indiewire.
- "Handia è il film vincitore del Noir in Festival 2017". Comingsoon.it. Retrieved 29 November 2018.