We’re used to walking out of movies set in the 1960s and 1970s and lamenting how unfortunately relevant decades-ago depictions of race, gender and other social constructs still feel today.
The Last Duel is managing to have the same effect on critics and audiences while rewinding the clock over 600 years. The historical drama follows the real-life 1386 clash between Jean de Carrouges ( Matt Damon ), a knight who challenges his one-time friend Jacques Le Grie (Adam Driver) to a fight to the death after Le Gris is accused of rape by de Carrouges’d wife Marguerite ( Jodie Comer ).
Co-written by Damon, Ben Affleck and Nicole Holofcener , directed by Ridley Scott and told in three parts presenting each character’s point of view, the crushing, oftentimes brutally violent drama is being widely labeled a “14th century #MeToo story.” But that’s not necessarily what its creators intended.
“I don’t believe we came to the movie that way,” Holofcener tells us during an interview alongside Damon (watch above). “I don’t think the guys did, either. I think they came to the movie thinking this is a great story. Incredibly visual, exciting and important because nobody knows about Marguerite de Carrouges. She was a brave heroine and did something ridiculously brave. Of course we were aware that, you know, certain things have not changed at all and we’re aware of the culture we’re in right now, but we didn’t want to make a documentary. We’re not experts in the #MeToo movement and we’re not here to be on a soapbox. So I think we all came to it wanting to create three-dimensional people and tell the specific story. And the fact that it’s relevant today is tragic.” Jodie Comer and Matt Damon in ‘The Last Duel’ (Fox) The film also marks a highly publicized reunion for Damon and Affleck, who rose to stardom as the Oscar-winning co-writers and co-stars of their beloved 1997 Boston-set drama Good Will Hunting . Critics have suggested that because that film was distributed and championed by Harvey Weinstein — the disgraced movie exec whose epic downfall sent shockwaves through the industry and brought the #MeToo movement into the mainstream — The Last Duel could be a redemption song for the longtime friends. But Damon says it ain’t so.