A young American journalist stranded in present-day Nicaragua falls for an enigmatic Englishman who seems like her best chance of escape. She soon realizes, though, that he may be in even greater danger than she is. Adapted from the Denis Johnson's novel.
A dissolute young American journalist and an English businessman with ties to the oil industry meet by chance while on different, mysterious assignments in modern-day Nicaragua. The two tumble into a whirlwind romance despite knowing little about each other’s true professional identities—all while abstract forces close in on them as they desperately try to book it out of a country that won’t seem to let them leave. Stars at Noon, based on the 1986 novel by Denis Johnson, represents a new mode for director Claire Denis, a contemporary thriller suffused with political intrigue and languid eroticism, moving entirely to the tactile rhythms of its actors, especially rising star Qualley, who gives a live-wire performance of fervid spontaneity and mercurial passion. Claire Denis surrounded herself with an international cast for this film exploring the terror and disillusionment of love, with the American actress Margaret Qualley (Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood, 2019) playing Trish, the British actor Joe Alwyn (The Favourite, 2018) as Daniel, Benny Safdie (Licorice Pizza, 2021) as the CIA agent, and with the Panamanian actor Nick Romano, who was a revelation for the director. Claire Denis has constantly explored new locations for her work, ever since she made Chocolat. After working in Africa and Europe, she chose Panama this time, as a way of bypassing the Nicaraguan government in power since 2007, led by the former Sandanista revolutionary Ortega.