C’mon C’mon offers a lesson in sensitivity | 25YL

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Go on! Go on could be viewed in a social studies class to teach adults how to behave. Writer/director Mike Mills constructs a thoughtful and instructive story about youth, maturity, and the many obstacles life throws at us. Joaquin Phoenix is ​​well cast against his usual type. Strangely, it’s a great out-of-the-box choice with a soft side to the personality that I’ve never seen it show before and wish I had.

The plot is narratively simple. Johnny (Joaquin Phoenix) is a radio podcast host who travels the country interviewing children about their future. When he’s not traveling across the country, Johnny resides in his Manhattan apartment. His sister Viv (Gaby Hoffman) has a difficult relationship with Johnny since caring for their sick mother. Viv tries to raise her son Jessie (Woody Norman) on her own since her father Paul (Scoot McNairy) is a frequent patient at the sanatorium.

Attempting to help Viv with her overwhelming life, Johnny decides to transport Jessie back to his New York home without telling his sister. In New York, Jessie is Johnny’s podcast assistant. He points the microphone at other children, hearing Johnny through a pair of headphones asking the children questions about happiness, death, and their future. Viv’s reception to the news of her son’s unexpected trip to the Big Apple is not at all believable. I understand it’s a movie about the power to manage our emotions, but you’re kidding me! It’s pretty hard to take my nephew to Chuck E Cheese. If I took him to New York, my sister would file a restraining order against me.

Johnny (Joaquin Phoenix) struggles to put an overactive Jessie (Wood Norman) to bed.

That grievance aside, Johnny and Jesse’s relationship is magnetic. Writer/director Mike Mills takes his time, allowing himself some intimate moments between the two. go! Go on is not based on a dramatic turn of events, but simply polite interactions where Johnny gradually learns to be a father. What begins as a relationship where the nephew is fun to be around turns into a puzzle.

Go on! Go on’ looks like it’s made with a skeleton crew similar to Malcolm and Marie. Equipped only with a sound recording kit, Johnny must conduct interviews as a one-man-band. Mike Mills does the classic make-a-movie about making a movie. In this case, a radio broadcast. How it pays Johnny’s bills, I’d be curious to know.

Courtesy A24
Johnny (Joaquin Phoenix) lets Jessie (Woody Norman) play with his audio equipment. Image courtesy of A24

The camera spends most of its time in a single room or in public places with its two cords. The budget must be bigger than it looks because anyone would recognize a camera following Joaquin Phoenix with a small child, but Mills intentionally makes it look cheap without devaluing the production design.

The black and white makes the film appear under budget than it really is, a nod to Joaquin’s character. Johnny is a man who doesn’t make a lot of money but just does what he loves because it makes him a more sensitive person. This sensitivity is what Jessie lacked in a male figure in her life.

At first, Jessie is fun to be around. The young tike has a brain that moves at a mile a minute, always wondering what new things he can learn. Of course, this ensues with an endless series of questions that send Johnny into the walls. Little by little, he understands the difficulties his sister encounters in raising a child alone.

go! Go on exists in an environment I wish I had grown up in, an environment where we know it’s okay to talk about our feelings and listen to our children instead of ignoring them. Jessie constantly interferes in Johnny’s life by pointing the microphone at him, asking Johnny about his divorce and loneliness, mimicking what Johnny does as an interviewer. Because Jessie is a child, he’s brave enough to ask such inflammatory questions, but his intentions are compassionate. The respect Jessie has for Johnny sparks curiosity since Johnny asks everyone about their lives.

Having to reflect on himself, Johnny enjoys hanging out with Jessie, forming an unbreakable friendship that crosses the line. Two valuable truths are taught in the film: we don’t know what we’re doing, and it’s okay not to be well. Boy, I wish I had known about this second when I was a kid.

Mike Mills makes slow cinema at its best where the intentionality of the beat isn’t lost in metaphors. It’s a story of patience, being of service to those we love, and making new friends along the way. go! Go on is a splendid, understated, cinematic celebration of life well worth watching.

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