Panorama | Contemporary World Cinema
When we first meet Jonathan (Baby Driver’s Ansel Elgort, superb here), his life seems pretty mundane. He works as a draughtsman in an architectural firm and adheres to a very strict—if somewhat odd—schedule. In fact, he’s keeping—or rather sharing—a deep secret: the mild Jonathan shares the same body with his outgoing brother, John, a condition diagnosed early on by Dr. Nairman (Patricia Clarkson), who conceived a set of strict rules for the two of them to co-exist amicably. But now the night owl John has broken those rules by dating a woman…
Director Bill Oliver has aptly called his debut a "science-fiction fable" and his low-key story about identity, brotherhood and betrayal features Elgort certifying his star credentials. The film’s central premise makes for fascinating and moving psychological drama, and the whole film marks Oliver as someone to watch; he’s made a character study you won’t soon forget.
"[Oliver’s] quietly involving drama eschews any overt fantasy trappings, let alone the thriller melodramatics its premise might lead one to expect… Taken on its own confidently crafted terms, Jonathan is an intelligent, absorbing tale that provides an impressive showcase for Baby Driver star Ansel Elgort… It’s a testament to Elgort’s understated yet distinct dual performances that before we fully grasp John/Jonathan’s circumstance (just one-quarter in), we’re not even sure we’re watching the same actor…"—Dennis Harvey, Variety