Sean Penn‘s “The Last Face” is the last high-profile film to screen at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival — and perhaps by design.
The romance, starring Charlize Theron, Javier Bardem and Jean Reno about aid workers in an African nation, was ripped apart by critics and social media users alike. Called laughable, insensitive and just plain awful, none were spared.
“Elapsed time in ‘The Last Face’ before the audience started laughing at it: Maybe 30 seconds. That’s not an exaggeration,” wrote Twitter user @gemko.
Ben Croll for TheWrap said: “Before a single image hit the screen, people were already jeering the opening crawl, written in purple prose and going on about ‘the loss of innocence … between a man … and a woman.’ Credit where credit’s due — it perfectly set the tone for what would follow, which is a spectacularly misjudged mix of humanitarian intentions and gonzo-terrible execution.”
BuzzFeed’s critic on the ground called it “a transcendently bad movie about aid workers and African suffering. But to its credit, the romance is actually worse.”
Poor Jean Reno, saddled w/ the worst of the godawful dialogue in THE LAST FACE. On romance: "It is not grabbing. It is loving." #Cannes2016
— erickohn (@erickohn) May 20, 2016
The Last Face review – African conflict is aphrodisiac for white people in Sean Penn's crass romance https://t.co/HQbXmES6N2
— The Guardian (@guardian) May 20, 2016
Elapsed time in THE LAST FACE before the audience started laughing at it: Maybe 30 seconds. That's not an exaggeration.
— Mike D'Angelo (@gemko) May 20, 2016
THE LAST FACE: A transcendently bad movie about aid workers and African suffering. But to its credit, the romance is actually worse.
— Alison Willmore (@alisonwillmore) May 20, 2016
The Last Face is definitely the worst film I've seen in Cannes. Pompous, pointless… and I think a little bit racist…
— Sam Creighton (@sam_creighton) May 20, 2016
The Last Face is Beasts of No Nation rewritten for white people by Nicholas Sparks. No wonder Penn and Theron broke up #Cannes2016
— Benjamin Lee (@benfraserlee) May 20, 2016
The Last Face – Lots of powerful images, but Sean Penn cannot direct at all. So cheesy, laughably bad, utter trash. Seriously awful awful.
— Alex Billington (@firstshowing) May 20, 2016
At a press conference following a photo call with the director and his cast, Penn defended the movie in the most Sean Penn Way Possible.
“I stand by the film as it is,” he told reporters. “I’ve finished the film so it’s not a discussion I’d be of value to.”
Naturally Penn couldn’t possibly be of value in such a discussion, though he did praise his actors led by former girlfriend Theron for performances he’d “pay to see 100 times.”
Kevin Spacey‘s Presidential Shtick
On Thursday, amFAR held its glittery annual benefit in step with Cannes, just down the water in the South of France drawing luminaries like Katy Perry, Milla Jovovich, Adrien Brody, Chris Tucker, Kirsten Dunst, Juliette Binoche, Vanessa Paradis and Karolina Kurkova.
And while he won’t serve as the leader of Relativity Studios, the Golden Globe winner snuck in a Bill Clinton impression and Donald Trump joke as emcee of the event.
Spacey remarked that Trump would hate the foreign films featured at Cannes, but would love the vibe of the French Riviera as “there are so many casinos to bankrupt,” reported the Associated Press.
The ’70s themed event also fetched top dollar for auction items from major Hollywood players including:
A yachting weekend ($616,000), a week’s stay at Leonardo DiCaprio‘s Palm Springs, California, home ($336,000), and a walk-on role on Spacey’s political drama “House of Cards” ($560,000).
As the festival winds down, anticipation dials up for forthcoming jury and audience awards. Stay tuned to TheWrap for honors like the annual Palme d’Or, and read our complete Cannes coverage here.