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Quendrith Johnson

Quendrith Johnson is Los Angeles Correspondent covering everything happening in film in Hollywood... Well, the most interesting things, anyway.
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C’MON C’MON is a black-and-white gem from Director Mike Mills, Joaquin Phoenix and cast

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent

Writer-director Mike Mills’ black-and-white film C’MON C’MON is a gorgeous essay on parenting starring Joaquin Phoenix in a role as Johnny, uncle to Jesse (Woody Norman) whose mother Viv (Gaby Hoffmann) is facing down a mental health challenge with the boy’s father, her ex-husband Paul (Scoot McNairy).

This is one of the most poetic releases of the year, a showcase for all involved, as complex layers build throughout the film.  “At first you will have to learn to use your new body, move your arms and legs,” the voice-over teases, as the stark palette opens a colorful emotional world.

The avuncular adventure between Johnny and nephew Jesse deep-ends as his father’s crisis requires Joaquin Phoenix’s character to shoulder full-time supervision of his mercurial young nephew. 



C’MON C’MON is a sort of urban fable about family relations in an ever changing woke atmosphere where even the definitions of blood relatives are in flux. The backdrop here is the peripatetic job of Joaquin Phoenix’s Johnny as a videographer who interviews young kids about their views of where they see the future going for us all.

Ironically, it is his own nephew who holds the viewfinder to his uncle’s immediate dilemma as the uncomfortable realities of hands-on child care seem beyond his scope at times.

Gaby Hoffmann as Viv, the overwhelmed sister tasked with caring for her brilliant and tormented musician ex-husband Paul, strikes the perfect tone as a beleaguered mother who is torn between son and his father.  She role-plays with her son in way that seems bizarre, until it echoes their reality.

Expect to be amazed at this version of Joaquin Phoenix as his interaction with newcomer Woody Norman reaches a high note in a heart-stopping deep dive into what it means to be family. 

The images included here are from a special screening in LA at the Fine Arts Theatre.

Mike Mills has created a truly poignant ensemble on film here that is unforgettable, as the phrase “C’mon, C’mon” turns into an unexpected plot pivot.

This A24 release slated for Nov. 19 in theaters, see C'MON C'MON here.

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About Quendrith Johnson

Johnson Quendrith

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