Joaquin Phoenix stars in the movie C’mon C’mon, showing at the Salmar Classic at 5 and 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022. (Contributed)

Joaquin Phoenix stars in the movie C’mon C’mon, showing at the Salmar Classic at 5 and 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022. (Contributed)

Shuswap Film Society: Joaquin Phoenix stars in insightful, heartfelt film, C’mon C’mon

Cinemaphile by Joanne Sargent

By Joanne Sargent

I think we can probably all agree that parenting is hard.

Joaquin Phoenix’s character Johnny learns this when he is unexpectedly pressed into child-rearing in the Shuswap Film Society’s next movie, C’mon C’mon.

Johnny is a bit of a man-child himself, a middle-aged radio journalist who makes content out of asking children in various cities questions he’s not sure of the answers to. He’s unmarried and untethered since his longtime girlfriend left and his mother passed away, at which time he and his sister Viv drifted apart. His life changes when overwhelmed Viv has to attend to her ex-husband’s mental-health crisis and needs Johnny to look after his quirky 9-year-old nephew Jesse.

Being the “fun uncle” is easy for a short stint, but his responsibility extends into weeks and Johnny has to become full-time caregiver to Jesse, who is as idiosyncratic as he is charming. Jesse goes along with him for his radio interviews in New York and New Orleans, and Johnny has to learn how to parent on the fly and through frequent and necessary consultation with his sister. With moments of impatience, frustration and even terror, he learns that complete helplessness can overwhelm you when you’re in charge of a child.

This movie is about emotional evolution: Johnny and Viv re-connect through co-parenting, and uncle and nephew get to know each other, developing a bond that neither of them knew they needed. In his interviews with children, Johnny always ends with “what makes you happy?” C’mon C’mon finds him asking that question of himself.

Insightful, open-hearted and called “a warm hug of a movie,” C’mon C’mon shows at 5 and 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 15 at the Salmar Classic.

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