C’mon C’mon brings Uncle Johnny (Joaquin Phoenix) and his nephew Jesse (Woody Norman) together to explore family connections and the ways we interpret the world around us. It’s beautifully shot in black and white by director Mike Mills, providing an intimate but casual backdrop to a heartfelt and emotional script.
Johnny is a radio journalist working on a story with kids sharing their hopes and dreams about the future. His sister Viv (Gaby Hoffmann) is in the middle of a mental health crisis with her husband. He offers to help by watching Jesse while she sorts things out. It starts as just a weekend gig, but turns into a long term commitment. The two create unique bond that delivers comfort through curiosity.
Johnny continues his work, bringing Jesse with him, and we get an almost documentary feel as continues to interview kids across the country. Small voices with big ideas. And yet some so simple – as adults, we’re like “Why didn’t I think of that?” It’s a wonderful journey as the two reveal perspectives of what surrounds us. Ironically, we get doses of pessimism from the kids and optimism from the adults, as they try to hide the bad things from the kids.
Meanwhile, phone calls with Viv bring out more relationship connections and struggles. Relatable stories about growing up with siblings, dealing with our parents, becoming adults, letting go to love. Things we are afraid of. And of course, the things we can’t control.
The phrase “C’mon” resonates even before it is spoken. It brings out the notion that we’re not alone; I got you. We’re in this together.
The performances are wonderful. Phoenix is a treasure and has been since Parenthood. He has this intense gaze that nearly shows what he is thinking. Woody Norman is incredible, delivering gut-punching truths with charming indifference.
“Whatever you plan on happening, never happens. Stuff you would never think of happens. So you just have to come on, come on, come on…” Jesse in C’mon C’mon.