C’mon C’mon (2021) movie review!
“The film had its world premiere at the 48th Telluride Film Festival on September 2, 2021, and was released in limited theatres on November 19, 2021, by A24. It has received acclaim from critics, with praise for its performances, direction, and cinematography.”
Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Woody Norman, Gaby Hoffman.
Director: Mike Mills.
Rotten Tomatoes: 94% IMDB: 7.5/10
“Johnny is a radio journalist traveling the country with his producing partners, interviewing children about their lives and their thoughts on the future. While in Detroit he calls his sister Viv; they had not spoken for the past year since their mother’s death from dementia. Viv asks Johnny if he can come to Los Angeles and watch her nine-year-old son Jesse, as she has to travel to Oakland to care for her estranged husband Paul struggling with mental illness.”
A dramatic and family based movie, one with a music score, direction and more that you don’t find in many movies now. Classical music to my taste and I suppose that works well. I watched it on Amazon Prime as it is recently added. A low key movie for Joaquin Phoenix because I personally, hadn’t heard of it until yesterday.
What we have is disconnected family. Johnny is already trying to connect with children about their own experiences and expectations in life, delving into big questions, not usually the sort people ask children. Like, ‘what do you think happens after you die,’ and ‘do you think this is real.’ I suppose the thought revolution has to begin somewhere. For the most part, adults don’t bother with these ideas as they would rather live in ignorance. So, getting into the care of his nephew, which I found to be quite heartbreaking. Why? Because the kid has been having issues at home, his mother is worried about his absent father, who is taken unwell, to a treatment facility. We don’t actually get all the answers as to what is going on with his father, but we can assume it is not good.
Naturally Johnny and Jesse have their differences, as Johnny tries to connect. But it does take some time. Yet with the movie shot in black and white, and the musical score, it sort of feels like it is going for a whole take on ‘what is life’, so that we as an audience can see what it is. Dramatic yes, the child Jesse is not to keen on opening up, but despite that Johnny has only good intentions in his heart and wants to try and be a good role model. Jesse is quite the unbearable kid at times, having his tantrums, running off etc. Johnny comes to a sad realisation that he cannot take care of Jesse any longer, because he thinks he is spoiled. I found it quite difficult to watch this part. There is a lot to read between the lines. Jesse doesn’t even want to go back to his mother, understandable I guess. It leaves Johnny in the position of either keep looking after him or send him back, but he sticks with it.
They are in Los Angeles, New York and New Orleans for most of the movie, but most time is spent focused on the interaction and chat of the two. Johnny is trying to learn about children, finding Jesse to be more withholding of emotions. The way the movie is produced and delivered is slightly different too. It makes use of books, with the the title and author shown on our screen as it is being read in the movie. I found this great, because we can go find those books if we want. They are for children, but the messages in ‘starchild’ or something like that, a book read to Jesse, delivers the message that we come from nothing, and will return to nothing. I think it’s more of an existential scene because I felt Johnny was the one struggling with the idea of dying alone. That is why the ending is difficult for him. Jesse will go and because of the distance, life and other variables is unlikely to see him for some time, although the movie seems to suggest that Jesse will forget, and they might never remember the time together.
It is a dramatic movie, about emotions, family, connection, existence, and the more deep questions like why are we here, and what do we need from life? I’m sure you will appreciate that this is considerably different to Joaquin Phoenix previous movies. I enjoyed the movie, it actually had substance and morality and these deep ideas about empathy and compassion, existence which we don’t see in life that much. Movies have taken on shallow meanings, however, I thought the acting, directing, delivery, scriptwriting and music and scene selection made for an effective art piece.
OVERALL RATING = 4.5/5