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You Were Never Really Here (2017)

2:09 | Trailer
A traumatized veteran, unafraid of violence, tracks down missing girls for a living. When a job spins out of control, Joe's nightmares overtake him as a conspiracy is uncovered leading to what may be his death trip or his awakening.


Lynne Ramsay


Lynne Ramsay (screenplay by), Jonathan Ames (based on the book by)
963 ( 52)
Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 25 wins & 69 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Joaquin Phoenix ... Joe
Dante Pereira-Olson ... Young Joe
Larry Canady Larry Canady ... Cincinatti Cab Driver
Vinicius Damasceno ... Moises
Neo Randall Neo Randall ... Moises's Friend
Judith Roberts ... Joe's Mother
Frank Pando ... Angel
John Doman ... John McCleary
Edward Latham Edward Latham ... Drug Dealer
Alex Manette ... Senator Albert Votto
Claire Hsu ... Staring Girl
Denis Ozer Denis Ozer ... Afghan Boy
Tia Sofia Begh Tia Sofia Begh ... Afghan Girl
Lucy Lan Luo Lucy Lan Luo ... Dead Girl
Annie Mac-Yang Annie Mac-Yang ... Dead Girl


Balancing between feverish dreamlike hallucinations of a tormented past and a grim disoriented reality, the grizzled Joe--a traumatised Gulf War veteran and now an unflinching hired gun who lives with his frail elderly mother--has just finished yet another successful job. With an infernal reputation of being a brutal man of results, the specialised in recovering missing teens enforcer will embark on a blood-drenched rescue mission, when Nina, the innocent 13-year-old daughter of an ambitious New York senator, never returns home. But amidst half-baked leads and a desperate desire to shake off his shoulders the heavy burden of a personal hell, Joe's frenzied plummet into the depths of Tartarus is inevitable, and every step Joe takes to flee the pain, brings him closer to the horrors of insanity. In the end, what is real, and what is a dream? Can there be a new chapter in Joe's life when he keeps running around in circles? Written by Nick Riganas

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Bring the hammer.

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

R for strong violence, disturbing and grisly images, language, and brief nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


This film is an adaptation of American author Jonathan Ames' 2013 novella of the same name. See more »


In the mansion, Joe sits on the bed, slides to the floor, and rips his shirt off. Right after that he is sitting on the bed again. See more »


Joe: Do you know what paradise is? It's a lie, a fantasy we create about people and places as we'd like them to be.
See more »


Referenced in Younger: A Christmas Miracle (2018) See more »


I Wouldn't Dream of It
Written by Gary Geld, Peter Udell
Performed by Joyce Heath
Published by Universal Music Publishing Ltd.
Courtesy of Efficient Space
See more »

User Reviews

Quite jarring, think that's intended.
17 December 2018 | by shinemercy-645-647631See all my reviews

I'm still processing this. The comparisons to "Taxi Driver" are fair: the performances, the director's vision and exectution, the understated script..... those are some of the similarities. The major differences, for me include the depth to which the protagonist's trauma is not played out for us to view as observers, but drip-fed in increasing doses, often from a first-person perspective, which in my watching felt more like we were experiencing Joe's trauma with him, rather than seeing it played out for us. The film also has a lot of relevance to current discussions of modern masculinity, and here the gendering of social roles is presented very much more as a question than a statement.

If you prefer to finish watching a film with your friends and be able to agree pretty much without discussion on what it was about, then I suspect you might find this film pretentious or light on plot. If you're the type who enjoys discovering what your friends think they just saw, and don't mind spending a lot the movie time watching Joaquin Phoenix' face doing some really admirable acting, then this film might be as worthwhile for you as it was for me.

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Official Sites:

Official site | Official site [Japan] | See more »


UK | USA | France



Release Date:

6 April 2018 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

You Were Never Really Here See more »

Filming Locations:

New York City, New York, USA See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$132,829, 8 April 2018

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital


Color | Black and White (surveillance footage)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

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