Is Joaquin Phoenix such a good actor that it’s easy to forget how good he is? Whereas an actor like Leonardo DiCaprio commands attention in every scene, Phoenix is just as likely to let the scene command him, adapting so well to the material he becomes inseparable from it.
In C’mon C’mon, Phoenix is both incredible and forgettable—but as someone who uses that word as a slight quite often in reviews, I mean no such critique here. There is something immeasurably calming about this drama, and Phoenix immerses himself in it like a hand into a worn glove. He feels at home here in this story about a man who temporarily takes custody of his sister’s quiet son—so at home that you can forget just how sensational of an actor he is. His performance here doesn’t feel like he’s acting; it feels like he is the character on screen.
The movie itself is pretty good, a feel-good drama but not the schmaltzy, melodramatic kind. From writer/director Mike Mills, C’mon C’mon connects on an emotional level, the plot largely irrelevant. It’s also the quaint kind of story that doesn’t entirely make the case for why this movie should be remembered a decade from now (but that’s okay).
A beautifully made, superbly acted drama (young Woody Norman is also excellent) that reinforces Joaquin Phoenix’s immense talent, C’mon C’mon has all the makings of a classic. Except for the staying power of one.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.