C’mon C’mon (2021)
Writer/director Mike Mills’ latest is a gentle and meandering movie, which is coming to be his indie specialty for me. C’mon C’mon features Joaquin Phoenix (in his schlubby every-man phase) as an audio journalist collecting interviews. He suddenly finds himself watching his young nephew (Woody Norman) after his sister (Gabby Hoffman) has to tend to her husband’s deteriorating mental illness. What follows is a lot of small moments that play quite naturalistic and in wry, nice dialogue exchanges. It’s also kind of sweetly boring. It’s a collection of moments of Phoenix struggling with how to relate to children, what we pass down to the next generation as legacy, and how to try and be a responsible parent and role model for an impressionable youth. It’s all messages and themes we’ve seen in dozens of other heartwarming parenting movies. The draw is the relationship between Phoenix and Norman, who proves to be a wonderfully natural performer, enough so that the movie often feels more observed than written. Their relationship is sweet but I felt like the movie was too often circling the same points and character differences for far too long. Perhaps others will get more out of this, find more to personally relate to, especially those finding themselves caring for children in unexpected circumstances. C’mon C’mon is reflective and compassionate and also kind of a snoozer.
Nate’s Grade: B-