C’mon C’mon is now playing in select cinemas nationwide.
For nearly a decade, A24 has been one of those indie distributors that has continually delivered top-notch movies, and even some TV shows. In 2021 alone, they have released Best Picture nominee, Minari, a sweeping medieval epic (David Lowery’s The Green Knight), a movie about a wild trip to Florida (Janicza Bravo’s Zola) but their latest movie, from director Mike Mills, might just be their best movie they have released this year. Here is why you need to see C’mon C’mon.
When his sister asks him to look after her son, a radio journalist (Johnny, played by Joaquin Phoenix) embarks on a cross-country trip with his energetic nephew to show him life beyond Los Angeles.
The plot itself is incredibly simplistic, however, Mills’ direction always keep the film interesting, thought-provoking and engaging. Every single scene is filmed with clear passion from Mills and it is clear that he truly put everything into making this film as perfect as it can possibly be.
Joaquin Phoenix gives a subtle yet wonderful performance as Johnny. He has an amazing screen presence and while his role in this may not be as “show-y” as some of the other big contenders for Best Actor at the upcoming Academy Awards, it is certainly Phoenix’s most honest performance to date and quite possibly his most subdued. While his last performance was in Joker, where he played a huge, flashy, larger-than-life character, the Academy Award winning actor takes a step back here to play a much more intimate character.
Woody Norman is also fantastic in the film! He acts as the beating heart of the entire movie and his character is written so beautifully. His relationship with Johnny feels so natural and I bought into every ounce of time they shared together on-screen.
The cinematography for the movie, also, is fabulous. Even though the film is shot in black-and-white, every single shot looks breath-taking. From the beaches of Los Angeles to the bustling streets of New York City, everything looks wonderful. It all looks incredible and cinematographer Robbie Ryan definitely has made the best looking film of his career.
While the film is very subdued and certainly a slow-burner, it does have quite a few scenes that had me on edge. There are a couple of moments where Johnny loses Norman’s character, Jesse, and that made me feel a sense of dread which I did not expect from C’mon C’mon. There are quite a few moments where this happened and when they did that, it was used effectively. There is one moment in a shop in NYC which used this tension perfectly.
Mike Mills’ C’mon C’mon deserves to sweep this year’s awards season. While its ending does feel a tad prolonged, it is a delightful, heartfelt and honest look at friendship. Joaquin Phoenix gives an emotional performance but Woody Norman is the clear standout as Jesse. It’s funny yet emotional and among the best of 2021.