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Will Robert Pattinson’s Childhood of a Leader See Light of Day in U.S.? (video)

Robert Pattinson plays a character who is caught up in the rise of fascism in Europe following WWI in 'The Childhood of a Leader.' But so far, no U.S. release date has been set. (Photo: Venice Film Festival)

Robert Pattinson plays a character who is caught up in the rise of fascism in Europe following WWI in ‘The Childhood of a Leader.’ But so far, no U.S. release date has been set. (Photo: Venice Film Festival)

Robert Pattinson has tended to gravitate toward eccentric roles since his “Twilight” days, and he explores another strangely existential character in his World War I drama, “The Childhood of a Leader.” The question is will anyone ever get to see it in the United States?

The film was shot a year ago and debuted at the 72nd Venice Film Festival last year, where it caught the attention of critics.

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It won awards for best director and best debut film for 27-year-old actor turned filmmaker Brady Corbet and was nominated for best film.

The picture also had a showing at the Rotterdam Film Festival earlier this month. But so far it’s only scheduled for release in Great Britain. It will debut there in August.

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No U.S. release date has been set, which is a shame, because the film has gotten generally positive reviews from the handful of critics who have seen it.

“Dominated by dread, veering into arthouse horror at points, this compulsively dark story takes no prisoners,” writes Lee Marshall in Screen Daily.

“Perhaps Robert Pattinson’s four brief appearances in the film will trick a few teenage girls into buying a ticket; if so, they’d better be prepared for an uncompromisingly grown-up, intelligent, allusive cineaste experience,” he adds.


The movie stars a largely international cast that includes Bérénice Bejo, Liam Cunningham, Stacy Martin and Yolande Moreau.

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The plot is loosely based on Jean-Paul Sartre’s 1939 short story by the same name and the 1963 novel Magnus by John Robert Fowles.

It charts the life of a young boy who is drawn into Fascism following the signing of the “Treaty of Versalles.” The pact ended World War I, but left a defeated Germany humiliated and sowed the seeds of totalitarianism in Europe.

Corbet says the film does not portray Hitler, or Italy’s Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini, the two leading dictators of that era. But it does portray someone who will be a surprise to the audience.

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Tom Sweet will portray the boy as a child and Pattinson will portray him as an adult.

Liam Cunningham, who stars on HBO’s “Game of Thrones” and plays the father in the movie, calls “The Childhood of a Leader” a “beautiful little piece.”

But not all critics are thrilled with it.

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“This first feature by 27-year-old American director Brady Corbet combines a fine Euro cast, grandiose art direction and a thundering score by Scott Walker, but the result is an embarrassing hodgepodge that’s very hard to follow,” wrote Deborah Young in The Hollywood Reporter.

Young called the film “an embarrassingly overambitious parable.”

Still it sounds like an interesting character study and it would be worth the price of admission to see how Pattinson handles the role.

Let us know your thoughts and be sure to follow IM on Twitter for the latest Robert Pattinson news you can trust.

  • youngatheart57

    When will the media realize that Rob’s true fans were never the teenagers?

  • ali

    Jonathan Demme was the jury leader and awarded this movie the Orizzonti prize in Venice and Best director to Brady Corbet.
    Robert Pattinson although he’s really good in it has a minor role. The movie’s main characters are Berenice Bejo and the young boy Tom Sweet.
    I don’t think that THR journo was even there. I believe she wrote her review based on some clips LOL

  • Guest

    I hope it does get an international release, I saw it at the IFFR closing night & thought it was just amazing. All the cast were excellent & the score is powerful and memorable. Well done Brady Corbet and his team!