Come on, come on – Chicago Reader

The fourth feature film from indie director Mike Mills, come on, come on tells the story of radio journalist Johnny (Joaquin Phoenix) who is put in charge of his precocious nephew Jesse (Woody Norman) after a family emergency. As the couple travels across the country, Johnny conducts a series of interviews with young people, exploring their thoughts and feelings about what the future holds for them.

Broad but personal, Mills’ film touches on a series of relationships as single and childless Johnny tries to navigate his nuanced relationship with both his cousin and sister Viv (Gaby Hoffmann), which has been broken up largely due to differing past opinions as to how. they have to take care of their mother, who suffers from dementia. For her part, Viv struggles to balance her own estranged relationship with Jesse’s father Paul (Scoot McNairy), who recently moved to a new town and struggles with his mental state, and her young son, who has a growing understanding of the fragile condition of his family .

While the complex range of emotional tensions in come on, come on might overwhelm a less adept filmmaker, the chemistry of Mills’ cast is so compelling that it lifts the film above the weight of its more navel-gazing moments. Phoenix and Norman share much of the screen time and share a particularly enchanting bond. And the vérité interviews for their part, which act as a separate film within a film, make for a compelling documentary, as children’s musings from across the spectrum of American life thoughtfully complement Jesse’s own coming-of-age -story. R, 108 minutes.

AMC Theaters, Historic Theaters

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