Dalton’s Dream review – sensitive documentary about a vulnerable X Factor winner | Documentary films

The acclaimed British documentarian Kim Longinotto (Iranian divorce, sisters-in-law) teams up with director Franky Murray Brown in this thoughtful study of career hopes and the cost of fame X Factor 2018 winner Dalton Harris. Harris, born in Jamaica, endured an abusive childhood that left him virtually separated from his mother. Its success during THE X factor reopens his childhood wounds and adds a few more for good measure as he becomes the target of vitriolic homophobic abuse from his home country.

The film’s handling of Harris’ struggling mental health is admirably compassionate; his observational approach captures, with uncomfortable intimacy, an increasingly isolated and vulnerable young man, lacking any kind of support outside of the management company that hopes to profit from his talent. Dalton’s dream raises troubling questions about the ethics of feeding sensitive young people into the voracious machine of celebration.

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