Director Mike Mills’ new film has a simple story, but it dives into considerable depth of character, looking at the relationships between adults and kids, in C’mon C’mon.
Johnny (Joaquin Phoenix) is a journalist who is working on a project that calls for him to interview kids across the country. Suddenly, he is tossed into a situation in Los Angeles where he has to help take care of his nephew Jesse (Woody Norman) because Jesse’s mother/Johnny’ sister Viv (Gaby Hoffmann) has to help her ex-husband (Scoot McNairy) get past a major life event.
However, Johnny needed to continue his work in New York so he convinces Viv to let him take Jesse with him to the Big Apple.
The relationship between Johnny and Jesse is at the center of the film, but it is not the only relationship investigated. Johnny and Viv’s mother/son relationship is looked at as well as the relationship between Jesse and his father. Each one is realistic and caring, showing the depth of love between the individuals as well as the amount of other feelings that occur in a normal relationship.
Johnny struggled as he was unused to having to connect with a 9-year old kid before, searching for support on the phone with Viv, both verbally and via text. You can see how close Johnny and Jesse becomes through the difficulties of living in the world.
The film is beautifully shot in black and white, bringing a richness to the imagery of the land. We get to see the differences between LA, New York and, eventually, New Orleans, as Johnny continued his work interviewing kids about their thoughts and concerns.
Some of the interviews with the kids are wonderfully intriguing and feel as if they are real. I do not know if these are actors as the interview subjects, but if they are, they do a tremendous job of feeling genuine. These interviews play over the end credits as well and help to emphasize the themes of the movie.
C’mon C’mon is poignant and emotional and anyone who has relationships with kids are going to relate to the film. Joaquin Phoenix is subtly great and Woody Norman gives a fantastic performance. Gaby Hoffmann is amazing as well, especially considering that, for most of the movie, all she has to act opposite is the phone she is talking on.
This film is recently available on VOD and is a very strong and positive film you should search out.