“To visit planet Earth, you will have to be born as a human child,” Joaquin Phoenix narrates in the trailer for Mike Mills’ upcoming film C’mon C’mon. The gentleness of Claire A. Nivola’s Star Child, the source of the words, comes through in stark black and white as Phoenix reads to his nephew, played by Woody Norman. Joker, this ain’t.
It’s been a while since we’ve seen this side of Phoenix. The typical intensity and bravado we’ve come to know and expect from the man take a backseat to warm smiles and loving hugs. Is this the first time we’ve seen Phoenix act this way since Her? In his heart, Phoenix has always been more of a character actor than a leading man, but C’mon C’mon looks like the slice-of-life humanity we expect from Mark Ruffalo, Oscar Isaac, or Steven Yeun in Minari. It’ll be interesting to see Phoenix try his hand at playing a regular, degular human for a change.
Here’s the synopsis:
Johnny (Joaquin Phoenix) and his young nephew (Woody Norman) forge a tenuous but transformational relationship when they are unexpectedly thrown together in this delicate and deeply moving story about the connections between adults and children, the past and the future, from writer-director Mike Mills.
C’mon C’mon is directed by Mike Mills, the director of 20th Century Women. We haven’t seen C’mon C’mon yet (it premiered at Telluride over the weekend), but our film editor A.A. Dowd had nice things to say about 20 Century Women. In his 2016 review, he wrote, “20th Century Women proves that Mike Mills is the real deal, that his previous success story was not a fluke but the announcement of an exciting new voice.” So if C’mon C’mon is good, Mills will officially be on a hot streak.
C’mon C’mon stars Phoenix, Norman, Gaby Hoffman, Scoot McNairy, and Jaboukie Young-White.