leaving neverland trailer

Leaving Neverland caused a minor uproar when it debuted at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, and now the controversial Michael Jackson documentary is primed to air on HBO. The four-hour doc presents the stories of two men who allege the King of Pop sexually abused them over a period of years. Through graphic, heartbreaking testimony, each man paints a vivid, haunting portrait of innocence not just lost, but stolen. Watch the Finding Neverland trailer below.

Leaving Neverland Trailer

I wasn’t able to catch Leaving Neverland at Sundance, but I recently caught up with it at home. And while I’ll have a full review here on /Film later, let me just say that this documentary is both incredibly powerful and incredibly disturbing. Did Michael Jackson really sexually abuse children? From a legal standpoint, I suppose we can never really know, and I would be unwise to come right out and say this film 100% proves Jackson’s guilt. But I will say the film makes a very convincing case for those accusations, and that the film’s two subjects – James Safechuck and Wade Robson – are entirely believable. There was never a moment during this film where I stopped and thought, “These guys are making this up.”

The doc doesn’t just chronicle Safechuck and Robson, it also focuses on their families, and how they were utterly starstruck by Jackson. And who can blame them? At the time, Jackson was the biggest star in the world. But Leaving Neverland suggests that Jackson’s star power helped him manipulate not just his alleged victims, but their parents as well.

It all makes for an incredibly uncomfortable viewing experience, but one that I think is a must-see – if you can handle the often graphic descriptions of certain acts. Here’s the full synopsis:

Leaving Neverland is a two-part documentary exploring 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 his own.

Leaving Neverland runs an exhausting and exhaustive 236 minutes, so don’t expect this to be something you can casually stream. You’re going to need to devote some time to it. Part 1 of the doc will premiere on HBO March 3, with part 2 debuting on March 4.

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