‘Dick Johnson Is Dead’ Trailer Previews Chaotically Poignant Netflix Doc on Losing a Parent

     September 15, 2020


The official trailer for Netflix’s stirring (and attention-grabbing) documentary Dick Johnson Is Dead has arrived. This is the second documentary from director Kirsten Johnson, who continues to take a highly personal approach to the genre in the follow-up feature to her 2016 work Cameraperson.


Image via Netflix

It’s clear from the jump that Dick Johnson Is Dead will make you laugh as much as it will make you cry. The trailer outlines this basic set-up: Johnson is dealing with the inevitable fact that her father, the titular Dick Johnson, will die one day. In an effort to grapple with this, Johnson decides to film a variety of scenarios where her father dies and which he amiably participates in. As Johnson and her father work together, Johnson also takes a look back at her father’s life and conducts interviews on his life and the fact that the end of his life is now closer than it’s ever been. What results is a chaotic, poignant, love-filled exploration of processing the end when it is near and what it means for everyone involved in that ending.

Dick Johnson Is Dead arrives on Netflix on October 2. You can watch the official trailer below. For more, here’s the list of new movies and TV shows coming to Netflix throughout September.

Here is the official synopsis and poster for Dick Johnson Is Dead:

A lifetime of making documentaries has convinced award-winning filmmaker Kirsten Johnson of the power of the real. But now she’s ready to use every escapist movie-making trick in the book – staging inventive and fantastical ways for her 86-year-old psychiatrist father to die while hoping that cinema might help her bend time, laugh at pain and keep her father alive forever. The darkly funny and wildly imaginative Dick Johnson Is Dead is a love letter from a daughter to a father, creatively blending fact and fiction to create a celebratory exploration of how movies give us the tools to grapple with life’s profundity. Dick Johnson Is Dead was filmed, produced, and directed by Kirsten Johnson (Cameraperson), produced by Katy Chevigny and Marilyn Ness, co-produced by Maureen A. Ryan, and executive produced by Megan Ellison.


Allie Gemmill is the Weekend Contributing Editor for Collider. You can follow them on Twitter @_matineeidle.

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