Magazine Dreams Review – Jonathan Majors delivers a knockout performance

By Ricky Valero
Published: January 28, 2023 (Last updated: January 29, 2023)


Jonathan Majors gives one of the best performances of the decade as Magazine Dreams is an anxiety-ridden ride that delivers a knockout punch.

We review the film Magazine Dreams, which does not contain spoilers.

The 2023 Sundance Film Festival had arrived, and my most anticipated movie from the festival was Magazine Dreams, the Jonathan Majors led film that has him star as Killian, a bodybuilder chasing his dreams. Did the movie live up to my hype? Let’s dive in.

Magazine Dreams Review and Plot Summary

Magazine Dreams follows an amateur bodybuilder who struggles to find a human connection as his relentless drive for recognition pushes him to the brink.

The film opens with this beautiful shot of Killian practicing his poses for what we would assume to be his upcoming competition, followed by a lady talking about how the court system is worried about his aggression and that it might be a risk of caring for his grandfather. You find out early on that Killian’s social skills aren’t the best. He is very soft-spoken, but his overbearing physique scares others.

Shortly after meeting him, we see his room, with pictures of bodybuilders all over his walls. He works out, eats right, and even writes a letter to his favorite bodybuilder asking him to write back or call him because he is his biggest fan. Then, we see Killian competing at a bodybuilding competition. The following day, in an exchange between him and this grocery clerk, we find out he finished 6th place the next day. The conversation between him and Jesse (Haley Bennett) is awkward, but Killian decides to go back inside and ask her out. Again, the writer/director Elijah Bynum perfectly depicts Killian’s lackluster social skills.

The idea of chasing dreams is something we all understand. Often those dreams can come at a cost. In the instance of Killian, it’s chasing his dreams of being a bodybuilder. From steroids to drugs to his obsession with his favorite bodybuilder, Killian’s body is starting to deteriorate, and his mind is becoming mush.

There is one point in the movie when you are watching, and you think to yourself, this is so hard to watch. You see a man slowly break down in front of your eyes, and you have this empathy for him because it’s one man just trying to chase his dreams. Jonathan Majors delivers a disciplined and restrained performance as Killian that makes you feel so many things. There is one scene where Killian gets beat up and has to head to perform on stage that is one of the most intense sequences you will see this year. In my opinion, this will be Majors’ Oscar moment from this film because he was masterful in how he acted here. 

The script portrays the passion of one chasing a dream brilliantly. Another thing that stood out is how this movie has this homage and connection to Eminem’s Stan. Every time Killian writes a letter to Brad, his favorite bodybuilder, it reminds me of that song. His obsession is intense and wild, and each passing letter becomes crazier and crazier. By the time we made it to the movies ending, my anxiety was at a high level. We witness Killian, who was on the brink of losing his mind, realize that he needed to be his own superhero. While not revealing what happened, I loved Elijah Bynum’s bold ending to this movie.

Is the movie Magazine Dreams good?

Yes, honestly, it might be a five-star movie upon a rewatch. Overall, Magazine Dreams depicts what it’s like to chase your dreams and the risk you have to take along the way that can cause a dream to become an obsession. It’s haunting, devastating, and downright scary. Jonathan Majors delivers a performance of a lifetime. What a film.

What did you think of the film Magazine Dreams? Comment below.

More Stories

Movie Reviews, Movies