Watch Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold Online

Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold

Where to Watch Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold


Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold is an intimate and deep-diving documentary crafted by director Griffin Dunne, a nephew of Didion's, aiming to shed light on the life and work of one of the most influential American writers of the latter half of the 20th century. Released in 2017, this insightful Netflix original focuses on Joan Didion, an award-winning literary figure known for her prolific writing career spanning over five decades. She's celebrated for her unique blend of reportage and personal introspection, producing seminal works that encapsulate the cultural landscapes of the times she bore witness to.

Dunne uses a cavalcity of home footage, archival materials, and documentation to chronicle Didion's life trajectory, intertwined with the tumultuous historical periods she often mirrored in her work. The documentary features interviews with the likes of cultural critic Hilton Als, renowned broadcaster Tom Brokaw, and former US Vice president Dick Cheney, among others, who closely interacted with Didion during her career, painting an intimate portrait of her personal life and profession.

Through the film, Dunne diligently peels back the layers on Didion's incredible journey, beginning with her humble origins in Sacramento, California. From her early career cut working at Vogue after winning an essay contest, to moving to New York and then back to California, it traces her path that was marked with creativity, resilience, and an intense desire to write. It showcases her acute observational skills which painted vivid images of 60s counterculture, the ennui of suburbia, and the whole atmosphere of unease in a country continuously grappling with the aftermaths of war, civil unrest, and cultural shifts.

One of the documentary highlights Joan's breakthrough novel, "Play It As It Lays" set in Hollywood during the late 1960s. The film speaks about the unflinching perspective Didion offered into the underbelly of American life, examining and articulating her thoughts and experiences of personal and social disorder. Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold also delves into the writer's personal life, touching on her marriage to fellow writer John Gregory Dunne and the immense grief she endured after the loss of her husband and their adopted daughter.

The Emmy-nominated documentary not only focuses on Didion's literary achievements but also shines a light on her ventures into screenwriting, her work as a political reporter and insightful social commentator. The title itself, a line borrowed from W.B. Yeats’ poem “The Second Coming”, is a broad stroke of clever symbolism for the chaos and disintegration that Didion has pointedly articulated in her writings, and the literal falling apart of her personal life.

One of the notable elements of Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold is the access to implicative interviews with Didion. Her soft-spoken yet poignant narrative voice echoes throughout the film, providing first-hand insights into the process that produced crucial cultural chronicles. There is a sense of melancholy and fragility in her reflections that conveys the weight of her life's journey, but also, importantly, her undeterred spirit and intellect.

Bearing the tone and complexity of Didion's prose while holding the simplicity of her famous cool gaze, Dunne's film follows a mostly linear progression. It deals with heavy subjects but does so with a gentle touch, matching Didion's own approach to writing about pain, loss, and upheaval.

Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold is a heartfelt conversation and a fitting tribute to an extraordinary literary icon. It dwells into the fascinating life of Joan Didion, bringing together her personal and professional experiences, the glaring realities of American society, and her incomparable ability to mould them into eloquent narratives. It’s a profound viewing experience for Didion devotees, and an excellent introduction for those unfamiliar with her transformative body of work. Whichever category you fall into, your appreciation for Didion and her craft is sure to deepen after Dunne's fine documentary spelunking.

Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold is a Documentary movie released in 2017. It has a runtime of 94 min.. Critics and viewers have rated it moderate reviews, with an IMDb score of 7.4. It also holds a MetaScore of 72.

How to Watch Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold

Where can I stream Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold movie online? Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold is available to watch and stream at Netflix.

Griffin Dunne
Hilton Als, Joan Didion, David Hare
Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold is available on .