You Were Never Really Here

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You Were Never Really Here
Directed by Lynne Ramsay
Produced by
  • Rosa Attab
  • Pascal Caucheteux
  • James Wilson
  • Lynne Ramsay
Written by Lynne Ramsay
Based on You Were Never Really Here
by Jonathan Ames
Music by Jonny Greenwood
Cinematography Thomas Townend
Edited by Joe Bini
Distributed by Amazon Studios
Release date
  • May 27, 2017 (2017-05-27) (Cannes)
Running time
95 minutes[1]
  • United Kingdom
  • France
  • United States
Language English

You Were Never Really Here is a 2017 British-French-American thriller film written and directed by Lynne Ramsay, based on the novella of the same name by Jonathan Ames. The film stars Joaquin Phoenix, Ekaterina Samsonov, Alessandro Nivola, Alex Manette, John Doman and Judith Roberts.

It premiered at the 70th Cannes Film Festival in the main competition section,[2][3] where Lynne Ramsay won the Best Screenplay award and Joaquin Phoenix won the award for Best Actor.[4]


A war veteran's attempt to save a young girl from a sex trafficking ring goes horribly wrong.



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,[5] 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.[6] On 25 July 2016 Alessandro Nivola joined the cast,[7] as of 18 August 2016 You Were Never Really Here began filming in and around New York City.[8] On 2 May 2017 it was confirmed that composer Jonny Greenwood would score the film.[9]

Critical reception[edit]

You Were Never Really Here received a seven-minute standing ovation at its Cannes Film Festival premiere. Critics particulary lauded Ramsay's direction, Phoenix's performance and Greenwood's score, and deemed it a strong contender for a Cannes award.[10] Phoenix won the festival's Best Actor Award and Lynne Ramsay won the Best Screenplay Award.

The film received a 92% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes with an average rating of 8.9/10,[11] and a score of 86 out of 100 on Metacritic.[12]

Joseph Walsh of The Skinny gave the film a rating of five stars out of five and states "You Were Never Really Here is a brutal, punishing watch, but every minute is a masterclass in filmmaking. It’s like a one-inch-punch to the gut, winding you from the start and giving you no respite, this exquisite examination of suffering will leave you staggering from the cinema."[13]

Giovanni Marchini Camia of The Film Stage describes the film as "one of the most ferocious indictments of systematic abuse of power and gender violence ever projected on a screen."[14]


  1. ^ Jagernauth, Kevin (April 13, 2017). "Sofia Coppola, Todd Haynes, Michael Haneke, Bong-Joon Ho & ‘Twin Peaks’ Lead 2017 Cannes Film Festival Line Up". Retrieved April 13, 2017. 
  2. ^ "The 2017 Official Selection". Cannes. 13 April 2017. Retrieved 13 April 2017. 
  3. ^ "2017 Cannes Film Festival Announces Lineup: Todd Haynes, Sofia Coppola, ‘Twin Peaks’ and More". IndieWire. 13 April 2017. Retrieved 13 April 2017. 
  4. ^ Debruge, Peter (28 May 2017). "2017 Cannes Film Festival Award Winners Announced". Variety. Retrieved 28 May 2017. 
  5. ^ Calvario, Liz (May 11, 2016). "Joaquin Phoenix To Star In Lynne Ramsay’s Sex Trafficking Thriller ‘You Were Never Really Here’". Indiewire. Retrieved August 23, 2016. 
  6. ^ Keslassy, Elsa; Setoodeh, Ramin (May 13, 2016). "Cannes: Amazon Sweeps in To Buy Joaquin Phoenix’s ‘You Were Never Really Here’". Variety. Retrieved August 23, 2016. 
  7. ^ Kroll, Justin (July 25, 2016). "‘Neon Demon’s’ Alessandro Nivola Joins Joaquin Phoenix’s ‘You Were Never Really Here’". Variety. Retrieved August 23, 2016. 
  8. ^ "Thursday, Aug. 18 Filming Locations for Spider-Man: Homecoming, Chicago Fire, Homeland, Bull, & more!". On Location Vacations. August 18, 2016. Retrieved August 23, 2016. 
  9. ^ Lyttelton, Oliver (2 May 2017). "Jonny Greenwood Scoring Lynne Ramsay’s ‘You Were Never Really Here’ With Joaquin Phoenix". IndieWire. Retrieved 2 May 2017. 
  10. ^ Cannes reception:
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External links[edit]