Director Sam Taylor-Johnson’s “A Million Little Pieces,” starring her husband Aaron Taylor-Johnson, has been collecting dust since it bowed at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2018. The film, which will receive a U.S. release on December 6 from Momentum Pictures, has finally received a first trailer.
“A Million Little Pieces” is adapted from the notorious 2003 “memoir” of the same name by author James Frey (played here by Mr. Taylor-Johnson). The book hit controversy at the time when Frey was outed by whistleblowing website The Smoking Gun for having fabricated long stretches of this harrowing autobiography of his crack addiction — most notably in a sequence where a dentist refuses to give Frey anesthesia while extracting his rotten teeth.
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After touting the memoir through her popular book club, Oprah Winfrey memorably brought Frey and his Doubleday editor Nan Talese onto her talk show to apologize for deceiving readers. The book’s reputation has since been redeemed, and regardless of the veracity of the events portrayed, “A Million Little Pieces” remains a powerful and unsentimental account of the downfall of drug addiction — and a riveting, entertaining read altogether.
This is Sam Taylor-Johnson’s first movie since “Fifty Shades of Grey.” “A Million Little Pieces” earned poor reviews out of TIFF, including from IndieWire’s own David Ehrlich, who wrote, “Yes, a James Frey biopic that ends when he gets out of treatment is sort of like a Milli Vanilli biopic that ends when they win the Grammy for Best New Artist, but there’s nothing inherently wrong about that approach. Judging by the dull and generic film the Taylor-Johnsons have made from Frey’s memoir, there’s nothing inherently right about it, either.”
The film adaptation boasts a terrific cast including Charlie Hunnam, Juliette Lewis, Billy Bob Thornton, Giovanni Ribisi, and Odessa Young — all playing the various people who come in and out of Frey’s life to either help or hurt him. This is Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s first dramatic leading role since he won a Golden Globe Award in 2017 for playing a psychotic hillbilly in Tom Ford’s “Nocturnal Animals.” It’s a testament to Taylor-Johnson’s, um, gifts that in “A Million Pieces” he still manages to look swole underneath all that haggard, drug-addict damage.