The film stars some big names, including Christina Hendricks, and was filmed in Detroit (but is actually set in the fictional town of Lost River). According to the Hollywood Reporter, the Mad Men star plays a single mom with money issues, raising a son who is in love with their next-door neighbor. The film follows the economic downturn in Lost River, and also stars Matt Smith as a bully (named Bully) and Eva Mendes (Gosling's girlfriend in real life), who runs a nightclub where Hendricks works.
Besides just the boos, the film hasn't received much good press. Critics at the screening began tweeting about the premise and Gosling himself.
Just think. If Ryan Gosling hadn't been such a star actor, he'd never have been allowed to direct *stares into space, screams* #cannes2014— Peter Bradshaw (@PeterBradshaw1) May 20, 2014
Ryan Gosling's Lost River is a conceited clunker - and yet there are great images and mad energy. Review up later #Cannes2014— Peter Bradshaw (@PeterBradshaw1) May 20, 2014
Cripes. Ryan Gosling's Lost River is a lurid mash up of Lynch, Refn and Edward Hopper. In a bad way. #Cannes2014— Kate Muir (@muirkate) May 20, 2014
"Everyone knows that superstar success means that you are surrounded by people who don't say no to you," said Peter Bradshaw (of The Guardian) in his official review. "[Lost River] is colossally indulgent, shapeless, often fantastically and unthinkingly offensive and at all times insufferably conceited."
However, the reviews weren't all bad. But even the good reviews seemed to be trying to offer an excuse for the film.
LOST RIVER: Unholy Motors. Gosling's Motown fantasy blitzes eye & mind. Carax/Lynch honored, audience baffled, but that's OK. #Cannes2014— Peter Howell (@peterhowellfilm) May 20, 2014
Gregory Ellwood from HitFix also said, "It doesn't all work but Ryan Gosling hits for the fences with #LostRiver and hits something gorgeous. An unexpected vision."
Although the reviews were mixed, the film may have a life after Cannes. Richard Corliss from Time may have said it best: "First came the boos, like an owl symphony, or a cattle crescendo. Then, a smattering of defiant applause. Then, the boos again. Suffice to say that Ryan Gosling's directorial debut Lost River is the most enthusiastically derided entry so far at this year's Cannes Film Festival."
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