The new ambling film from Mike Mills relates to hIs paternal experience in a thoughtful way may be more ad-libbed than well-done previously ones like Beginners and 20 Century Women.
C’mon C’mon works a surrogate of sorts through a radio journalist Joaquin Phoenix’s Johnny doing interviews with youngsters. It’s a performance filled with being caught-off-guard as well as warmth that resonates a little like a more surreal Her.
The plot brings Johnny together with his 9-year-old nephew Jesse (Woody Norman) in a road (bicoastal) trip as his recording project lands in the Bib Apple. There’s a bit of a struggle before a deeper connection as some discerning cineastes may be reminded of Kenneth Lonergan’s You Can Count On Me.
The manner of expression for these two defines a generation gap as each deals with breakdowns, whether in marriage or a parent’s emotional state. Jesse’s mom, Viv done with unfettered honesty by Gaby Hoffman has to attend to her-ex-husband Paul (Scotts McNairy) allowing for everyday nuances to come through with raw affirmation. As recollections occur in a monochromatic sheen that helps to delineate a more vivid, than gimmicky picture.
The difficulty to arrange and organize because of what is occurring gives light to the moniker. Phoenix brings earnestness earnestness to a relaxed character quite a contrast to his mesmeric turn for Todd Phillips in Joker. He’s matched quite well with Norman’s genuine precociousness. Hoffman is quite keen to Viv’s strife in part shared with Johnny through the loss of their mother to dementia.
These strained bonds meld to a deeper affection while never truly being in the know that Mills more often than not provocative affirms. The disheveled nature of things can have a certain clarity as youth aren’t that optimistic about betterment as their feelings about elders and virtue.
Joaquin Phoenix’s performance in contrast with his stunning Joker turn displays his remarkable versatility as a performer. C’mom C’mon is a slow moving image of a nephew interacting with his uncle through many ordinary functions in their life together. There are no extraordinary happenings only the simple function of living and getting through a difficult time for the young boy.
To enjoy this film which can be slow and ordinary requires listening carefully to the dialogue which will probably not bring a wide box office.