THEATRICAL REVIEW: Phoenix’s quiet, moving performance propels C’mon C’mon

There’s something about a tender, moving independent film that can capture the true beauty of cinema.

Writer-director Mike Mills is known for some wonderful comedic-dramas, especially Oscar favourite Beginners. But I dare say coming-of-age story C’mon C’mon is his best work yet.

It follows a radio journalist – marred by tragedy but not dwelling on it – who embarks on a cross-country trip with his estranged nephew. He takes the boy to New York when the young man’s mother is called away.

In the process, he’s given time for introspection and begins to realize the effect his family trauma has had on him.

Joaquin Phoenix follows up his manic, showy Oscar-winning Joker performance with this sensitive portrayal, proving once again he’s one of the best actors working today.

It’s one of his most muted performances, but he emotes so much with his eyes and smile that you don’t need his words. The only one who matches him is young Woody Norman, mostly unknown in the film world.

It’s one of the greatest child actor performances in a long time, and Norman absolutely matches Phoenix in incredible ways.

On the awards side, Phoenix and Gaby Hoffman were both nominated for Gotham Awards, and the film was named one of the Top Ten Independent Films of the year by the National Board of Review. It’s a touching film that deserves all the acclaim.

C’mon C’mon is a gorgeously shot, black-and-white picture that is compelling and engrossing while still managing to be understated and grounded. It’s a remarkable little film that demands your full attention.

4/5 Stars

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