I had a hard time finding anybody who saw the controversial Michael Jackson doc, Leaving Neverland, while at Sundance a few weeks ago. The reasons for that are many: HBO would be putting the film out in two parts in early March, the four-hour runtime pretty much ruined your plans for the entire day, and who wants to spend their Sundance with something guaranteed to be a depressing experience? Because this wouldn’t be one of those movies celebrating Jackson’s musical genius and artistry, but a searing account of his alleged sexual abuse of young boys, accusations that have dogged his career even beyond the grave.
Directed by Dan Reed, the film visits the allegations that Jackson abused two boys in particular: James Safechuck and Wade Robson. Based on the new trailer HBO has released, we may never listen to Jackson’s music the same way here. Or maybe we’ll never want to listen to it again after this. Here’s the synopsis:
This two-part documentary explores the separate but parallel experiences of two young boys, James Safechuck, at age ten, and Wade Robson, at age seven, both of whom were befriended by Michael Jackson. Through gut-wrenching interviews with Safechuck, now 37, and Robson, now 41, as well as their mothers, wives, and siblings, the film crafts a portrait of sustained abuse, exploring the complicated feelings that led both men to confront their experiences after both had a young son of their own.
HBO will release Leaving Neverland in two parts on March 3rd & 4th.