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You’ve given each other the perfect male fantasy.
Sex without emotional attachment.
Fascinating. That’s the best description for this film. Jonathan is not an easy movie and it excels in monotony. But give this not so action-packed, one location situated film a chance and maybe you’ll discover how unparalleled and brilliant this film is.
The starting point is actually dead simple. Those who already experienced the concept of living together, know that this only has a chance of success if appropriate agreements are made and complied with. This is to ensure that nobody makes the other’s life unnecessarily miserable—which could lead to a breakup.
In the case of Jonathan (Ansel “Baby Driver” Elgort), it’s a bit more complicated. Because the person he lives with is his twin brother John who shares the same body. Aha, is this something like Split? No, not entirely. It’s less intense and it shows in a realistic way what a split personality is. So no frightening personality changes or “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde ” behavior.
First of all, I would like to praise the excellent acting of Ansel Elgort. Even though I realize this isn’t so obvious, it seems to be a piece of cake for Elgort to play the two totally different personalities. Jonathan is the more disciplined twin brother. A perfect hairstyle and decent clothing show he’s the one who follows the rules. This means he manages his allocated time of the week optimally. He works at a distinguished architectural firm where he does his job perfectly. The cooking and household tasks are done neatly. And he reports conscientiously what he did all day with the aid of the camcorder before he crawls into his bed at an exact time to make room for the other twin brother John.
John is the indifferent one. A relaxed-looking pack rat who doesn’t want to live strictly according to the imposed rules. A night owl who enjoys the nightlife where he can meet other people and seduce feminine beauties. He’s someone whose video messages never sound too businesslike and who exudes an enormous “Je mon fou” mood. John is the rebellious personality who enjoys life. Until Jonathan gets suspicious (there’s this constant feeling of fatigue) and hires a private detective (a brief cameo by Matt “Walking out” Bomer), after which he finds out that John isn’t really keeping his end of the bargain. He conceals certain developments and breaks the main rule, no girlfriends. Having sex isn’t the problem, but having an emotional bond is out of the question.
“Jonathan” shows the interaction between two good friends. Jealousy and protecting his own territory causes complications and leads to a struggle between two people. In Jonathan’s case, it’s about an inner struggle. Something everyone has experienced once already. Only such a quarrel isn’t so obvious for Jonathan cause physical contact is impossible. What they get, is a war of words with the use of the camera. Or just simply, the absence of any sign of life, such that one of the personalities stays behind helplessly. The only moral support Jonathan has is Dr. Mina Nariman (Patricia “October Gale” Clarkson). She took Jonathan in when he was young and introduced structure in his life. She discovered what was wrong (Single body, multi-consciousness) and separated their lives with the help of a kind of timer.
Jonathan is an interesting and fascinating indie-SF. Probably it’s a bit boring for some because it mostly takes place at one and the same location. And a large part of the film consists of video recordings of the two persons. But to be honest, it was captivating and I was curious how this unique conflict would end. There was, however, one particular thing I broke my head about. If the surgery which Dr. Nariman performed when Jonathan was nine-years-old, went off seemingly hassle-free, why not apply this to all personalities? Wouldn’t this be the solution to avoid this unique and complicated situation? Or was Jonathan simply the umpteenth guinea pig? But besides this remark, I thought it was a top film. Definitely recommended for film lovers who love a clever psychological thriller with SF elements in it.