C’mon C’mon follows Johnny (Joaquin Phoenix), an audio journalist, who is tasked with watching his nephew, Jesse (Woody Norman), for an extended period of time. He was previously distant with his sister and therefore, his nephew, so he feels out of his depth. However, he comes to deeply value his time with Jesse and becomes more open as a person.
C’mon C’mon is one of the most beautiful films I have seen this year and is my favorite film of 2021 so far. It is just a deeply touching and human film. Both Joaquin Pheonix and Woody Norman give layered and nuanced performances. Johnny and Jesse are both wary of each other at first but they come to appreciate and really love each other. You can clearly see that they had an impact on each other. Gabby Hoffman also gave a brilliant performance as Johnny’s sister, Viv.
Viv has to leave her son in order to help her mentally ill ex-husband adjust to a new job and a new city. Jesse is a very curious, yet lonely boy. He has his quirks which sometimes make him difficult to handle. He does not really understand what is wrong with his dad or why his mom has to be away for so long. Johnny has trouble navigating what to or not to tell him. There is not much of a plot here, instead you get to see inside a burgeoning relationship between a man and a boy.
Johnny’s job also gives the film more heart in a way. The project he is working on has him going around the United States interviewing kids on what they think the future will be like. These interviews make you reflect on the state of the world as you ponder what your own answers would be. I was also very interested in what the kids would say. There are some that are hopeful and some that are doubtful. Johnny takes his nephew with him to different cities together they share a love for recording audio.
I am really impressed by the director, Mike Mills. I enjoyed his previous films, Beginners and 20th Century Women, but neither film touched me like C’mon C’mon has. The film is shot beautifully in black and white, which I think really heightened the tone and themes. Mills just knew his characters inside out and brought out wonderful performances from his actors.
I honestly think Joaquin Pheonix should win an Oscar for this role instead of the Joker. He is very human and vulnerable here, a bit similar to his performance in Her. As stated before, Woody Norman and Gabby Hoffman are equally brilliant in their performances. Overall, C’mon C’mon is a deeply moving film that is definitely worth checking out. I feel like I know these characters. Johnny, Viv, and Jesse are a flawed, but realistic family that I want to be a part of.
I give C’mon C’mon an A+