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Joan Didion

The Center Will Not Hold: An introduction to one of America’s most important writers (Netflix)

Joan Didion Julian Wasser / Netflix
Alissa Wilkinson covers film and culture for Vox. Alissa is a member of the New York Film Critics Circle and the National Society of Film Critics.

Netflix’s Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold is an introduction to Didion’s life and work, directed by her nephew, the actor and filmmaker Griffin Dunne. It covers her whole life — including, in some detail, the late years, during which she tragically lost both her husband, the writer John Gregory Dunne, and her daughter, Quintana Roo Dunne.

Unlike Tracy Daugherty’s mammoth 2015 biography of Didion, the film was made with Didion’s participation. At nearly 83 years old, she’s frail but full of memories — and as guarded as her prose. But Dunne’s camera captures the fleeting expressions that cross Didion’s face after she finishes answering his questions, and they can occasionally speak volumes that never make it onto the page when she writes. That alone makes The Center Will Not Hold worth watching. (Here’s our review.)

”Her ability to take in the chaos and darkness of the ’70s and find some kind of acceptance through her writing is what makes her as relevant as ever.” Emily Yoshida, Vulture

Release date: October 27, 2017

Streaming on: Netflix

Metacritic score: N/A

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