With festival season now in full swing, trailers have been materializing at a more prolific clip as distributors and studios jockey for the public’s attention on their major releases. One such title comes to us from A24 and writer/director Mike Mills, returning to feature filmmaking for the first time in five years.
Today brings a long-awaited look at Mills’ tender and well-reviewed drama C’mon C’mon, his follow-up to 2016’s 20th Century Women. Like that film and its predecessor Beginners, the new one focuses on a makeshift family unit finding solace in one another from a world that can be big and intimidating for a wayward young man.
In this case, that’s precocious Jesse (Woody Norman), sent to live with his uncle Johnny (a grizzled Joaquin Phoenix) as the two embark upon a cross-country work trip. He makes a living as a radio host interviewing kids about their opinions on the world, and so as they make their way from California to New York with what appears to be a stopover in New Orleans, he thinks about what promise the next generation holds.
To the strains of Isao Tomita’s rendition of ‘Clair de Lune’ – its extraterrestrial ambience and subject matter befitting the bedtime story about an alien Johnny reads to little Jesse – Mills shows off some of his softly shadowed black-and-white footage, a striking choice evoking Alexander Payne’s Nebraska, another deadpan road trip. America looks timeless, or perhaps stuck in time, like each shot is a vintage roadside photograph.
C’mon C’mon just made its world premiere at the Telluride Film Festival, and will soon mosey eastward to play at the New York Film Festival later this month before a theatrical run later this fall. For Phoenix, this will be his first onscreen appearance in a couple years, since his Academy Award-winning turn as the Joker – it’ll be nice to see him scaling back for a more grounded, human role.
C’mon C’mon will come to US cinemas in November.
Published 8 Sep 2021
The director of 20th Century Women discusses his personalised cine-poem written to his late mother.
Annette Bening anchors this delightful, deeply personal comedy-drama from writer/director Mike Mills