By Mark Saldana
Rating: 3.5 (Out of 4 Stars)
Life, as seen through the perspectives of adults and children, are usually very different things. While grownups are more knowledgeable and often jaded by what the world has to offer, the youth sometimes have more hopeful and promising outlooks on their future. This new film by Mike Mills offers a glimpse of the world through these different views, and reminds adults that sometimes a little hope and positivity can keep us going, despite the definite unknowns in our future. C’mon C’mon really is a remarkable film that reminds its protagonist Johnny (Joaquin Phoenix) that not all which we desire from this world is completely lost.
Dealing with much heartache and sadness in his life, Johnny, a radio journalist, clings to his career for dear life to keep him motivated and enriched from the world. His latest project involves him traveling around the United States interviewing various children of different ages to get their perspectives on the world and their futures. Even though he has had an estranged relationship with his sister Viv (Gabby Hoffman), she has no one to turn to when she needs someone to watch over her son Jesse (Woody Norman). Viv must come to the aid of Jesse’s father Paul (Scoot McNairy) who has been struggling with his mental health problems.
Johnny reluctantly agrees to watch over Jesse, and what is supposed to be a short stint turns out to be much longer than any of them expected. Because Johnny has commitments to continue his journalism project, he is forced to bring Jesse with him and the two share a powerful bond, from which both learn much about life and how to deal with their own personal struggles.
Writen and directed by Mike Mills, C’mon C’mon is an incredible movie that has much to say about the good in this world and how we much relish all that is positive and right. The film also gives its audiences a more hopeful outlook, but never shies away from how difficult it is to maintain this positive approach to life. Mills does an exceptional job of developing his characters by placing in them in very realistic scenarios which will certainly feel relevant to the struggles of its audiences.
The movie benefits greatly from the outstanding performances by its cast. As the main protagonist Johnny, Joaquin Phoenix gives a beautifully nuanced turn with whom most people can relate and identify. It is a exceptional performance which deserves much attention when it comes to awards season. As Jesse, young Woody Norman gives an amazing performance that perfectly fleshes out his character Jesse. I would love to see his name appear in multiple awards nominations for Best Supporting Actor. Also notable in this movie are Gabby Hoffman and Scoot McNairy who both give excellent performances as their characters.
C’mon C’mon is one of those quieter movies I feel will fall below many people’s radars at this time, but it truly is one of the great offerings cinema has delivered this year. It is a sleeper indie film that I must strongly encourage adult audiences to seek out if available to them at their local cinemas.