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Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Gaby Hoffmann, Woody Norman, Scoot McNairy, Molly Webster, Jaboukie Young-White
OUR RATING: ★★★☆☆
A24 drama written and directed by Mike Mills. C’mon C’mon (2021) centers on Johnny (Joaquin Phoenix), a documentary filmmaker, who forges an unexpected bond with his young nephew, Jesse (Woody Norman), as they embark on a cross country trip.
Our Favorite Quotes:'Whatever you plan on happening, never happens. Stuff you would never think of happens. So you just have to come on. Come on, come on, come on, come on...' - Jesse (C'mon C'mon) Click To Tweet
Johnny: Okay, I’m going to ask you a series of questions, and there are no right or wrong answers. So when you think about the future, how do you imagine it’ll be? Like what will nature be like? How will your city change? Will families be the same? What will stay with you, and what will you forget? What scares you? What makes you angry? Do you feel lonely? What makes you happy?
Girl: I think adults always think they’re the boss, and they always got to be the boss of everything. And I think that some adults have that mindset where “I’m right and you’re wrong.”
Girl: America, it’s so much tragedy, and some people aren’t treated fairly, because of race, because of who they like, because of where they live, because of how much money they have. So I would want it to become a better place and people to know that just because someone isn’t like you doesn’t mean that they’re wrong, but then I’m not sure.
Viv: [over phone] It’s nice that you called.
Johnny: I didn’t know if I was going to call, or if you would, if no one would.
Viv: It’s a good day to talk. Maybe mom’s listening.
Johnny: Yeah, maybe.
Johnny: [over phone] How is Jesse?
Viv: He’s so good. He’s smart, and he’s so weird. He’s older, and he’s funny, and I don’t know. He’s a whole little person.
Viv: Are you ready for this?
Johnny: God, what?
Viv: [referring to Jesse] Brace yourself. There’s this little orphan who likes to come visit me. In fact, he will probably come visit you. And he likes to pretend that I have some dead children, and he asks me a lot of questions about what they did, so he can do those same things.
Johnny: That’s f***ed up.
Viv: Yeah. It’s really, it’s totally normal. All the kids do this.
Johnny: Your mom just left?
Jesse: Uh-huh. She said you might be a bit awkward.
Jesse: She said you might be a bit awkward. But you’ll get used to things.
Johnny: So when you think about the future, what do you imagine?
Jesse: I don’t want to.
Johnny: You don’t want to imagine what the future’s like?
Jesse: I don’t want to do the questions.
Jesse: My mom tells me stories. It can be fiction, or non-fiction.
Johnny: Oh, boy. I don’t know any stories. Can we just talk, and get to know each other?
Jesse: Why did she stop talking to you?
Johnny: We talk.
Jesse: No, you don’t.
Johnny: I mean, I don’t know.
Jesse: Did you used to talk a lot?
Viv: [referring to their parents] So easy for you. They made me feel like I was a crazy person again and again, and you just went along with it.
Johnny: You don’t exactly make it easy to help you.
Viv: Well, maybe, but I needed your help. Look, you’re losing a mom who adored you. She just did. And I’m losing one who never understood me.
Jesse: Why aren’t you married?
Johnny: I was with somebody for a long time, Louisa.
Jesse: Did you love her?
Johnny: I still do.
Jesse: Then why did you break up?
Johnny: I don’t know.
Johnny: [to Jesse] I don’t think it was my choice. I think you love each other, and then you still love each other, but find it hard to express that love to each other. And so then you look at each other, and you do this. And you go, “Oh.” You know, I mean, I hope you don’t have the experience, but you probably will. It’s alright, actually.
'Over the years, you will try to make sense of that happy, sad, full, empty, always shifting life you're in. And when the time comes to return to your star, it may be hard to say goodbye to that strangely beautiful world.' - Johnny Click To Tweet
Johnny: [recording] I read him The Wizard of Oz, kissed him on the head, and said good night. And he asked me, why am I not married. I didn’t tell him that I want to be, that I miss Louisa. I made it into a weird joke. Why did I do that?
Jesse: So should I call you like Papa, or Dad or just Johnny?
Johnny: You can call me whatever feels comfortable to you.
Jesse: I don’t know, it’s just I’m not used to being able to choose.
Johnny: Maybe we can just take this process slowly and see how it feels.
Johnny: Let me ask you a question. Why does everything have to be like this kind of weird, eccentric thing that you do?
Jesse: Because I like it.
Johnny: Yeah, but why not just do something normal? Like everything in your real life…
Jesse: What’s normal?
Johnny: Okay, fine. Good point.
Johnny: Never been to New York?
Jesse: Never ever been to New York.
Johnny: You don’t think all the like sunshine, and sand, and bodies is kind of boring?
Viv: Johnny, you don’t ask a nine year-old kid if they want go to New York before you ask their mother!
Johnny: Viv, I want to help. I want to help.
Viv: Jesus Christ!
Johnny: Listen to me. I’m trying to help you, and this is a way that I can help.
Viv: Well, that’s not helpful.
Johnny: [referring to what he loves about recording] And in a way it’s cool, because you get to keep these sounds, right? You keep it forever. You make like this mundane thing, like be immortal, and that’s cool and fun.
Roxanne: Do all your friends act like you?
Jesse: And that would be a big no.
Jesse: Do you have trouble expressing your emotion?
Johnny: Well, I’m feeling pretty frustrated right now.
Jesse: That’s good. Just sit down, you can let it all come out.
Jesse: [to Johnny] My friends don’t talk like me, because I don’t really have friends. I mostly hang out with adults.
Jesse: Can you tell me about mom when she was a little girl?
Johnny: [recording] I said, “She was cute.” He said…
Jesse: I heard about her boyfriends, and she ran away, and she got in trouble all the time. And I heard that she got an abortion.
Johnny: [recording] What the f*** do I say to that? I didn’t even know about it.
Jesse: Let me tell you how my mom puts me to sleep. Now, lay down.
Jesse: Rest your feet. Rest your legs. Rest your hands. Rest your arms.
Johnny: My mom would never do this.
Jesse: Rest your eyes. Rest your mouth. Rest your jaw. Rest your mind. No more thoughts tonight. No worries. Just stars in the sky.
Viv: [over phone, referring to Jesse] I’m not used to it. I f***ing hate it sometimes. I mean, I love him more than I can even understand. And that makes it even worse when I can barely stand to be in the same room with him, going on, and on, talking, talking relentlessly about nothing random nothingness, interrupting every thought I might have.
Johnny: Oh, God. And I know.
Viv: From making him lunch, and doing the dishes, from making lunch, and then doing the dishes, from making dinner, and then doing the dishes, from lunch, and then going grocery shopping. On, and on, and on, and on, he never stops. It’s a f***ing nightmare.
Viv: [over phone] Do you think I’m horrible now?
Johnny: No, no. I have so much sympathy.
Boy: So my fears would be like loneliness, and like, you know, just like people not understanding you, even though they’re there to understand you, and stuff like that. It’s just really scary, because it feels like you have nobody.
Girl: When people end up saying, “Oh, words don’t hurt,” it like it gets to me so bad. People will just judge you without even knowing. It’s like not even their fault that they don’t know. They probably just wasn’t raised like I am, knowing how to treat people, how not to treat people.
'Kids tend to think freely. Adults when they think, they think in a tight space.' (C'mon C'mon) Click To Tweet
Girl: I don’t like when everyone’s just in a stressed mindset, and they’re very closed
into themselves. They just don’t speak to each other, and they’re just like kind of hiding away from like real life.
Boy: I feel like people who try to express their emotions, like they would get a lot of hate. It happened like more in the 20th century. So instead of letting them be them, they wanted to oppose them in like bad horrible ways. But I feel like now you could
speak your feelings easier, but not easily.
Johnny: [to Jesse] You don’t need a song to brush your teeth to. The next thing you know, you’re going to need electronic stimuli for everything you do. You know, it’s important to just live in it, you know? Peace and quiet. Your generation is completely lost.
Johnny: [over phone] I’m sorry, it’s so ridiculous. Do you know I just said, you know, “You can’t have that toothbrush.” And I went around the corner for a second to grab toothpaste, and then he disappeared. So I’m running after him, trying to find him, and he jumps out, scares me. And, yeah. I got angry, and I yelled at him. I yelled at him.
Viv: It’s f***ing awful. I’ve done it. I know that look in those little eyes, it’s the worst. But it’s okay also. You know, you just have to explain to him that you were scared, and that’s why you yelled, and then you apologize, you know? He’s a person, you just be honest with him.