The 4-hour Michael Jackson documentary Leaving Neverland caused a stir at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. The troubling film chronicles the stories of two men who claim they were both sexually abused as children over long periods of time by the world-famous Jackson. Fans of the late King of Pop were angry, claiming (without seeing the film) that Leaving Neverland was a smear campaign. While the threatened protests never arose, the experience of watching Leaving Neverland left Sundance audiences stunned, with many critics proclaiming the film to be extremely difficult to watch due to its shocking subject matter. Now, the doc will head to HBO next month. See the Leaving Neverland premiere date below.
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Leaving Neverland, the documentary investigating Michael Jackson’s years of sexual abuse allegations, premiered at Sundance Friday. The four-hour documentary directed by Dan Reed chronicles the King of Pop’s long-running relationships with two boys, James Safechuck and Wade Robson, during the 1990s. “Now in their 30s, they tell the story of how they were sexually abused by Jackson, and how they came to terms with it years later,” the film’s official synopsis reads.
The documentary premiered amid backlash against the film’s contents and “direct threats” against Reed’s life, causing Park City police to raise security around the Friday screening. However, the protesters reportedly didn’t appear, and Leaving Neverland was shown to a packed audience that gave the documentary and its subjects Safechuck and Robson a standing ovation. Critics who left the screening called it “disturbing,” “exhaustive,” “a devastating, deeply credible piece of filmmaking.”
Read on to see the rest of the Leaving Neverland early buzz.
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