Flag Day
Flag Day poster.jpeg
Theatrical release poster
Directed bySean Penn
Screenplay by
Based onFlim-Flam Man: A True Family History
by Jennifer Vogel
Produced by
CinematographyDaniel Moder
Edited byValdís Óskarsdóttir
Michelle Tesoro
Music byJoseph Vitarelli
Distributed byUnited Artists Releasing
Release dates
  • July 10, 2021 (2021-07-10) (Cannes)
  • August 20, 2021 (2021-08-20) (United States)
Running time
108 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Box office$424,667[2][3]

Flag Day is a 2021 American drama film directed by and starring Sean Penn. His daughter Dylan Penn co-stars. It premiered in competition at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival.[4] It was released on August 20, 2021, by United Artists Releasing. The film has received mixed reviews from critics.


The daughter of a con artist struggles to come to terms with her father’s past, involving the fourth-largest seizure of counterfeit bills in U.S. history, nearly $20 million.[5] Based on: Vogel, Jennifer (2004). Flim-Flam Man : a true family history. New York: Scribner. ISBN 978−0−7432−1707−1.[6][7][8][9][10][11] Jennifer Vogel was the editor for Seattle’s The Stranger.[12][13][14][15]



In March 2012, theplaylist.net reported Penn’s interest in Flim-Flam Man[17] with Alejandro González Iñárritu directing.[18][19]

It had been announced in March 2019 that a casting call for the film had been issued, with filming for the project due to commence in Winnipeg, Canada.[20][21][22][23]

Filming began in June with the cast including Penn and his children Dylan Penn and Hopper Penn. Josh Brolin, Miles Teller and Katheryn Winnick were also among the cast announced.[24] In July 2019, James Russo was confirmed as part of the cast.[25] On August 1, 2019, scenes were filmed at the Fort Garry campus of the University of Manitoba.[26] On September 6, 2019, filming took place at Piedras Blancas in San Luis Obispo County, California.[27]

The film was produced by William Horberg, Jon Kilik and Fernando Sulichin.[28]

In an interview with Deadline Hollywood at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival, Penn said that he initially thought that it would be something he might act in, but after trouble identifying the right director he took on the offer as it was a movie that he would have liked to see get made.[29] It is the first film directed by Penn in which he also appears.


The film had its world première at the Cannes Film Festival in July 2021. Prior to the festival, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer acquired U.S. distribution rights to the film, with plans to release it later that year through their joint venture, United Artists Releasing.[30] It was released on August 20, 2021.[31] It was previously scheduled to be released on August 13, but moved back a week to avoid competing with another MGM film, Respect.[32]


The soundtrack to Flag Day features original music by Eddie Vedder, Glen Hansard and Cat Power. The first single, „My Father’s Daughter“ marks the musical debut of Vedder’s then-17-year-old daughter Olivia, who also sings lead on the song „There’s a Girl“.[33] The album with the thirteen-track soundtrack was released on August 20, 2021.[34]

1.„My Father’s Daughter“ (Eddie Vedder, Glen Hansard and Olivia Vedder)
  • Eddie Vedder
  • Glen Hansard
David Odlum2:50
2.„Flag Day“ (Eddie Vedder and Glen Hansard)
  • Vedder
  • Hansard
3.„I Think of Angels“ (Cat Power)Kristján KristjánssonKK3:32
4.„Tender Mercies“ (Eddie Vedder and Glen Hansard)
  • Vedder
  • Hansard
5.„Rather Be Home“ (Eddie Vedder and Glen Hansard)
  • Vedder
  • Hansard
6.„I Am a Map“ (Cat Power)Chan MarshallCat Power2:01
7.„As You Did Before“ (Glen Hansard)
  • Vedder
  • Hansard
8.„There’s a Girl“ (Eddie Vedder, Glen Hansard and Olivia Vedder)
  • Vedder
  • Hansard
9.„I’ll Be Waiting“ (Eddie Vedder and Glen Hansard)
  • Vedder
  • Hansard
10.„I Will Follow“ (Cat Power)MarshallCat Power4:48
11.„Wave“ (Eddie Vedder and Glen Hansard)
  • Vedder
  • Hansard
12.Drive(Eddie Vedder) 4:24
13.„Dream“ (Cat Power)MarshallCat Power5:22
Total length:47:48


Box office

Flag Day was released in 24 theaters and made $40,750 in its opening weekend. According to Deadline Hollywood, the film was targeting an „older, sophisticated demo.“ In its initial release, 56% of all audiences were over the age of 55, low numbers that were credited to the Delta variant. The film was screened in 50 theaters in its second weekend.[35]

Critical response

On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 40% based on 84 reviews, with an average rating of 5.30÷10. The site’s critics consensus reads: „Flag Day benefits from powerful performances and a moving fact-based story, but it’s largely lost in the movie’s melodramatic din.“[36] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 53 out of 100, based on 24 critics, indicating „mixed or average reviews“.[37]


  1. ^ „Flag Day“. Cannes Film Festival. Retrieved June 28, 2021.
  2. ^ „Flag Day (2021)“. The Numbers. Retrieved October 1, 2021.
  3. ^ „Flag Day (2021)“. Box Office Mojo. Retrieved October 1, 2021.
  4. ^ Roxborough, Scott (June 3, 2021). „Sean Penn, Wes Anderson, Sean Baker, Ildikó Enyedi Join 2021 Cannes Lineup“. The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved June 3, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  5. ^ „Sean Penn to reteam with Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu for his adaptation of Flim-Flam Man?“. JoBlo. March 16, 2012. Retrieved January 12, 2022.
  6. ^ „ ‚Flim-Flam Man‘ given the gift of dignity“. USA TODAY. March 22, 2004. Retrieved January 12, 2022.
  7. ^ „Nonfiction Book Review: FLIM-FLAM MAN: A True Family History by Jennifer Vogel, Author . Scribner $23 (224p) ISBN 978−0−7432−1707−1“. Publishers Weekly. Retrieved January 12, 2022.
  8. ^ „FLIM-FLAM MAN“. Kirkus Reviews. October 15, 2003. Retrieved January 12, 2022.
  9. ^ Marshall, John (February 27, 2004). „ ‚Flim-Flam Man‘ raises uneasy questions about families“. seattlepi.com. Retrieved January 12, 2022.
  10. ^ Kroin, Amy (February 22, 2004). „True tales of families rent by crime and death, united by imagination and song. Reviewed by Amy Kroin“. Washington Post. Retrieved January 12, 2022. An investigative journalist by trade, Vogel is not an accomplished prose stylist, though she tries...She tries on metaphors the way a toddler tries on clothing -- haphazardly and with absurd results. Ultimately the attraction here lies not in the prose but in the story.
  11. ^ Egelman, Sarah Rachel (January 22, 2011). „Review: Flim-Flam Man“. bookreporter.com. Retrieved January 12, 2022.
  12. ^ Busse, Phil (May 6, 2004). „Flim-Flam Man“. Portland Mercury. Retrieved January 12, 2022.
  13. ^ „Jennifer Vogel“. goodreads. Retrieved January 12, 2022. Jennifer Vogel worked as a writer and reporter in Minneapolis for seven years before moving to Seattle, where she was editor in chief of The Stranger. She moved back to Minneapolis in 2003.
  14. ^ Thomas, Christine (February 15, 2004). „REVIEWS IN BRIEF / Flim-Flam Man“. SFGATE. Retrieved January 12, 2022.
  15. ^ Dicker, John (April 1, 2004). „Book Reviews • Daddy dearest“. Sacramento News & Review. Retrieved January 12, 2022.
  16. ^ Hammond, Pete (July 10, 2021). „ ‚Flag Day‘ Cannes Review: Sean Penn Directs And Stars In Powerful True Family Drama That Is Star-Making Showcase For Daughter Dylan Penn“. Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved July 10, 2021.
  17. ^ Davis, Edward (March 15, 2012). „Sean Penn May Join Alejandro González Iñárritu’s ‚Flim-Flam Man‘ (Possibly Retitled ‚Red Flag‘)“. theplaylist.net. Retrieved January 12, 2022.
  18. ^ Abrams, Rachel; Kroll, Justin (March 8, 2012). „New Regency backing Inarritu pic - Entertainment News, EXCLUSIVE, Media - Variety“. Archived from the original on March 10, 2012. Retrieved January 12, 2022.
  19. ^ „Sean Penn to play conman in film?“. The Belfast Telegraph. Retrieved January 12, 2022.
  20. ^ „Sean Penn to direct movie shooting in Winnipeg“. CTV News. March 13, 2019. Retrieved January 12, 2022.
  21. ^ Sean Penn to direct new film in Winnipeg, search is on for actors
  22. ^ „Sean Penn Set to Direct New ‚Flim Flam Man‘ Movie in Winnipeg“. Access Winnipeg. March 14, 2019. Retrieved January 12, 2022.
  23. ^ „Penn in the ‚Peg: Academy Award winner to direct movie in Winnipeg this summer“. cbc.ca. Retrieved January 12, 2022.
  24. ^ ‚Flag Day‘ Shoot Under Way: Sean Penn Directs & Stars In Drama With Dylan Penn, Josh Brolin, Miles Teller, Katheryn Winnick, More
  25. ^ James Russo Joins Sean Penn Drama ‚Flag Day‘
  26. ^ UM Today Staff (July 31, 2019). „Filming on campus on Aug. 1“. UM Today. Retrieved August 18, 2021.
  27. ^ Linn, Sarah (September 20, 2019). „ ‚Boy, that looks like Sean Penn.‘ Oscar-winning actor spotted filming in SLO County“. The Tribune. Retrieved August 18, 2021.
  28. ^ McNary, Dave (June 19, 2019). „Sean Penn to Direct, Star in ‚Flag Day‘ With Daughter Dylan Penn“. Variety. Retrieved May 15, 2020.
  29. ^ Fleming, Mike Jr. (July 9, 2021). „Sean Penn Keeps It All In The Family With ‚Flag Day‘ At Cannes: The Deadline Q&A“. Deadline. Retrieved July 13, 2021.
  30. ^ D’Alessandro, Anthony (June 11, 2021). „Sean Penn Cannes World Première ‚Flag Day‘ Picked Up By MGM; Studio Eyes Theatrical Release This Year“. Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved June 11, 2021.
  31. ^ Juneau, Jen (July 28, 2021). „Sean Penn’s Daughter Dylan Makes Lead Debut in Flag Day Alongside Dad — See the Gripping Trailer“. People. Retrieved July 28, 2021.
  32. ^ D’Alessandro, Anthony (June 15, 2021). „Sean Penn Feature ‚Flag Day‘ Sets Summer Theatrical Release“. Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved June 15, 2021.
  33. ^ „Eddie Vedder’s Daughter Olivia Makes Vocal Debut on ‚Flag Day‘ Soundtrack“. Variety. August 16, 2021.
  34. ^ „2021 Flag Day Soundtrack“. PearlJam.com.
  35. ^ Goldsmith, Jill (August 22, 2021). „Sean Penn’s ‚Flag Day‘ Fails To Fly As Older Arthouse Crowd Shuns Cinemas – Specialty Box Office“. Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved August 22, 2021.
  36. ^ „Flag Day (2021)“. Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved November 15, 2021.
  37. ^ „Flag Day Reviews“. Metacritic. Retrieved August 31, 2021.

External links