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“C’mon C’mon” by Mike Mills on film: Being a father, on the other hand, is very

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This film is so calm and delicate that it would be necessary to shout how great it is so as not to get lost in the roar of time. It is nothing momentous: a man taking care of his nephew, and it turns out to be much more complicated and exhausting than he imagined. But Mike Mills draws a balancing act between caring for others and caring for oneself in “C’mon C’mon,” and maybe that’s just momentous.

“C’mon C’mon” is Joaquin Phoenix’s first film role since he won a best actor Oscar for “Joker.” He looks for the challenge in an alternative project, in a very calm character and himself, a very nice guy who treats his peers with frankness and benevolence. Johnny lives in New York and works in radio, does long talk shows, how the kids imagine his future, and travels all over the United States. He himself is childless, in the innocent way that only men are childless because they have never heard the ticking of a biological clock.

He is in Detroit with his team when his sister calls him; They haven’t seen each other in a long time since his mother died, and now she’s asking him for help. Viv (Gaby Hoffmann) has separated from her husband, who has serious mental health issues, and now she has to drive to him, and she definitely doesn’t want to take her child with her. So Johnny flies to Los Angeles to take care of him for a few days. Jesse is nine years old and has to go to school. The situation is difficult enough for him without seeing his father freak out.

“C’mon C’mon” is shot in black and white. Once Los Angeles has been stripped of its bright colors, it no longer seems to be built around Hollywood, it’s just a place where ordinary people try to get their lives together. Mills finds a very natural and believable tone to this story early on. A strange reunion with the sister, somewhere between alienated and familiar, a gentle approach to Jesse the boy: how does one, completely untrained, manage to present himself as a future caretaker?

Nine-year-old Jesse engages the adults in sad games.

This creates weird and funny moments. A wonderful scene: “What should I call you?” Jesse asks, and Johnny replies, “Whatever suits you.” The little ponderer slumps into his chair and says, “I’m not used to being able to choose something like that.” Jesse has a unique way of dealing with the emotions surrounding mental health issues and the disappearance of his father.

Involves adults in sad games. So she tells Jesse, “I’m so sorry your kids are dead.” And when he reacts a bit dumbfounded, he adds, “You’re really not good at something like that.” Johnny really learned to listen, it’s his job, but when he talks to the kids for his show, he just finds out where his problems are. He doesn’t have to solve them.

Woody Norman is a worthy antagonist for Joaquin Phoenix as Jesse: a little unpredictable, difficult and precocious, and yet a child. Mike Mills says that his relationship with his own son inspired this story, a very personal starting point, as in his previous films, Beginners and Women of the Century, in each of which he worked on the relationship. with his parents.

Mills makes movies like to show how moving it can be when the biggest hit in a movie is a change of location. A bit of drama: Johnny is needed at work and now he takes Jesse into her life, which Viv doesn’t like and shows her how different it is when there’s someone else whose needs she has to constantly attend to. Viv is still a supporting character, her journey taking longer than planned, texting and calling to get into the story. Johnny discovers his brooding instinct, fights it a bit, constantly consults his sister for advice, and eventually grows up with his responsibilities until no one can say he’s not good at it. Not even Jesse.

Mills wrote the screenplay himself, and at times his attempts to get to the bottom of human relationships border on the pretentious; one book that makes use of the film, for example, is Mothers: An Essay on Love and Cruelty, by the British psychoanalyst and feminist Jacqueline. Pink. It is about the demands placed on mothers, the impossibility of satisfying them and the cracks in a society in which everyone feels unmaternized.

“Motherhood is the place in our culture, where we house or rather bury the reality of our own conflicts, of what it means to be fully human,” Mills cites, the idea of ​​motherhood as a place where all our conflicts converge and then be covered up But it’s actually much more enjoyable when he lets those thoughts shine through in scenes: in Johnny’s innocent childlessness, all the questions he asks his sister, the confusion when he no longer knows what to do, the quiet satisfaction when something it works. There is comfort in Mills’ story: people are flexible, their wounds can heal as long as they don’t go too deep. And so, every mistake Johnny makes has a chance to make things better. Better impossible.

go Go, USA 2021 – Director and Screenplay: Mike Mills. Camera: Robbie Ryan. Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Woody Norman, Gaby Hoffman, Scoot McNairy, Molly Webster. Rental: DCM, 108 minutes. Theatrical release: March 24, 2022.

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