Theatrical release poster
|Music by||Sebastián Kauderer|
|Edited by||Kent Beyda|
Dear Dictator is a 2018 American satire comedy film written and directed by Lisa Addario and Joe Syracuse. The film stars Michael Caine, Katie Holmes, Odeya Rush, Seth Green, and Jason Biggs. The plot follows a sixteen-year-old American girl who becomes the pen pal of a notorious island nation dictator even when he is deposed.
Tatiana Mills (Odeya Rush), a fifteen-year-old American girl, lives a quasi-chaotic alone with her single mother Darlene (Katie Holmes), who is in a complex romantic relationship with her married boss Dr Charles (Seth Green) who is a dentist with a foot fetish. Tatiana becomes pen pals with Anton Vincent (Michael Caine), a notorious island nation dictator.
When Vincent is deposed by his own people, who rise up against his violent and oppressive rule, he disappears, causing Tatiana to worry about his safety. A few days later, he unexpectedly arrives in the United States and seeks refuge in Tatiana's suburban garage. There, he develops a grandfatherly relationship with the teen and her struggling mother, becoming a useful man around the house whilst organising his restoration as leader with loyalist forces back in his unnamed homeland.
Anton shifts his focus to Tatiana's high school life and her desire to deliver payback to the popular girls that pick on her. He makes her a dictator-in-training and teaches her to rise to power in her school in a similar way to his ascent to power in the Caribbean. Ultimately his plans go too far, putting her at odds with Tatiana, who also comes under investigation from the security services who have picked up on Anton's communication with his loyalist forces and suspect she is involved with terrorism.
The police interview both Tatiana and Darlene and search the house, blissfully unaware that the old man in the house is Anton Vincent - whose whereabouts is unknown. No evidence is found and they are released, but upon release Tatiana informs the police that the old man is Vincent and he is arrested pending extradition.
- Michael Caine as General Anton Vincent
- Katie Holmes as Darlene Mills
- Odeya Rush as Tatiana Mills
- Seth Green as Dr Charles Seaver
- Jason Biggs as Mr Spines
- Jackson Beard as Denny
- Jay Willick as Det. Diggs
- Adrian Voo as Neighbor
- Fish Myrr as Sarvia
- Hannah Joy Brown as Chivas
- Jordyn Cavros as Gigi
- Tony Guerrero as Pastor Ramirez
- Dana Joyce Schiller as Detective Spano
- Jacob Grodnik as Teddy
The script was shown among the 2006 Black List of unproduced scripts. Also in 2006, the script was presented as a staged reading at the Nantucket Film Festival. Alfred Molina, Robert De Niro and Anthony Hopkins were previously attached as the dictator role. On June 8, 2016, Michael Caine and Maisie Williams were announced as the lead stars of the film.
Principal photography on the film began on July 29, 2016 at 402 Arlington rd. in Savannah, Georgia. First photographs of Katie Holmes and Odeya Rush filming scenes for the film were published on E! News on July 31, 2016. Production wrapped in October 2016.
Dear Dictator held advance screenings, under its working title Coup d'Etat, at the Nantucket Film Festival, New Jersey Indie Street Film Festival, Carmel International Film Festival and the Napa Valley Film Festival.
Cinedigm released the film in North America simultaneously in theaters and on video on demand on March 16, 2018, followed by a DVD release on April 24, 2018. The first trailer was released on January 17, 2018.
The film received negative reviews, but the performances of Caine and Rush were praised. On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 16% based on 25 reviews, and an average rating of 3.82/10. On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 44 out of 100, based on 8 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". The Hollywood Reporter reviewer Justin Lowe commended the film, suggesting "If only every international political crisis were this amusing."
- Sarah York, American who became the pen pal of Manuel Noriega, then the de facto ruler of Panama, at age 10
- List of fictional dictators
- Michael Caine filmography
- Webster, Gretchen. "Westport native films 'Amateur Night' for big screen". Westport News. Retrieved 10 November 2016.
- Abrams, Simon. "Dear Dictator Movie Review & Film Summary (2018) - Roger Ebert". www.rogerebert.com.
- ""Dear Dictator" Is a Teen High School Comedy Starring Michael Caine as a…*checks notes* Murderous Strongman?". www.villagevoice.com.
- "2016 Black List" (PDF). The Black List. Retrieved 10 November 2016.
- Scrizzi Driscoll, Kathy. "Nantucket festival announces featured films". CapeCodOnline.com. Retrieved 5 May 2017.
- Morgan, Allyson. "Five Questions With... Lisa Addario and Joe Syracuse, Writer/Directors of COUP D'ETAT". Nantucket Film Festival. Retrieved 29 June 2017.
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- Peerless, Beth. "Where It's At: The increasing number of premieres points to the arrival of Carmel Film Festival". Monterey Herald.
- "Simple & Sassy at the Movies: 'Monumental' experiences". Napa Valley Register. Retrieved 11 November 2017.
- Ramos, Dino-Ray. "Cinedigm Acquires Rights To High School Comedy 'Dear Dictator'". Deadline. Retrieved 14 December 2017.
- Lawrence, Derek. "Michael Caine is a dictator with a teenage pen pal in Dear Dictator trailer". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 17 January 2018.
- "Dear Dictator (2018)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved March 21, 2018.
- "Dear Dictator Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved March 16, 2018.
- Lowe, Justin. "'Coup d'Etat': Film Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 23 November 2017.
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