UPDATED: Sean Penn’s humanitarian romance “The Last Face” is being savaged on Twitter after premiering Friday at the Cannes Film Festival. Commenters on social media are describing the film, which stars Charlize Theron and Javier Bardem, as the worst of the fest. Others are also quipping that the picture is so awful that it destroyed Penn’s relationship with Theron. The duo broke up a year ago.
When critics weighed in, they largely echoed the flash reactions that bubbled up online.
Variety Chief Film Critic Owen Gleiberman faulted Penn for spending so much time on the love story between Theron and Bardem, writing, “no matter how ‘well-meaning’ a director may be, there’s something inherently eye-rolling about being asked to care about the tragedy of African children through the POV of two lovelorn glamour pusses.”
IndieWire’s Eric Kohn branded it the worst film of Penn’s career, writing “The narrative panders on every level: It’s a supercilious attempt to bemoan the hardships of neglected people under the guise of whiny romantic fluff. ”
And, in a one star review, the Guardian’s Benjamin Lee excoriated the film as “an extended Band Aid video, shoddily assembled to be screened at galas filled with the guilty elite sipping champagne while frowning at close-ups of tearful orphans.”
Penn, a two-time best actor Oscar winner for “Mystic River” and “Milk,” has also directed several films, among them “Into the Wild” and “The Pledge.”
Here’s a round-up of some of the most brutal Twitter takedowns:
“‘The Last Face’ is definitely the worst film I’ve seen in Cannes. Pompous, pointless and I think a little bit racist,” Sam Creighton wrote.
“I joined in the booing for my first time today for ‘The Last Face.’ It was so bad that I laughed [out] loud at times,” Melissa Silverstein said.
“Sean Penn needs to stop directing. Hated pretty much every second of ‘The Last Face,'” Silverstein added.