Review: C’mon C’mon (#PFF30)


Joaquin Phoenix has never been as charming as he is in this tender family tale that showcases a bright young talent in Woody Norman.

When his sister (Gaby Hoffmann) calls in a time of need, Johnny (Phoenix) travels to her home to watch his nephew (Norman), leading to a tumultuous, but ultimately impactful testing and development of their relationship. C’mon C’mon is an unconventional film, presented in black and white, that methodically dissects Phoenix’s protagonist as he explores emotions brought on by his nephew counterpart, a rambunctious boy demanding of attention but ripe with curiosity. There is a simplicity to writer/director Mike Mills’ film that is refreshing; there aren’t any out-of-the-blue surprises or excessively contrived plot developments to advance the story, rather the focus always remains on the back and forth between our two leads. 

There are times, however, where acute boredom sets in as a result of the film’s noted simplicity. While not a traditional “reflecting on life through the eyes of a child” narrative, it still falls within that genre of film and doesn’t offer much new. The strength of C’mon C’mon truly rests on the shoulders of Phoenix and Norman, both delivering heartfelt performances that will hook audiences and distract from the fact that not much is really happening. Still, this is a charming outing from Phoenix, who usually is revered for his intense and chaotic roles, far from what we see in C’mon C’mon. This in itself makes the film noteworthy.

C’mon C’mon hits limited theaters on November 19th, 2021.

Rating: 3/5

Photo from People

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