The film was submitted to the Cannes Film Festival in an unfinished state, and was completed only a few days before the first public screening. Lynne Ramsay subsequently said that the version shown in Cannes was unfinished.
According to Rolling Stone, Joaquin Phoenix has stated that Lynne Ramsay gave him an audio file of fireworks mixed with gunshots to suggest what's going on in Joe's head.
Very little actual violence is shown in the movie, but more often the aftermath of violent scenes. Lynne Ramsay stated that before this movie she had never done anything with a gun, so she had to figure out how to approach violence. Budget constraints didn't allow her to shoot complex action scenes, so this gave birth to the idea to show "post rage aftermath scenes" instead of the violence itself. Lynne Ramsay confessed she thought it was very risky to use this approach, because if it didn't work she wasn't able to go back and reshoot the scenes.
In the novella You Were Never Really Here by Jonathan Ames the main character Joe uses a lot of props like latex gloves and gadgets. Lynne Ramsay stated that it was Joaquin Phoenix who suggested to get rid of most props to keep the character more authentic.
Received a seven-minute standing ovation at its Cannes Film Festival premiere, on May 27, 2017. Lynne Ramsay won the award for Best Screenplay and Joaquin Phoenix won for Best Actor.
The film marks the second time Radiohead guitarist and Grammy Award-winning and Academy Award-nominated composer Jonny Greenwood scored a Lynne Ramsay film (the previous being We Need to Talk About Kevin (2011)). The film also marks the third time Joaquin Phoenix appeared in a film scored by Greenwood (the first two being Paul Thomas Anderson's The Master (2012) and Inherent Vice (2014)).
Made its North American premiere in the "Spotlight" category at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah on January 21, 2018.