…is the ultimate Art House film from American writer—director Mike Mills) best known for his Academy Award nominated movie 20th Century Women). It falls into the dramatic comedy genre. I reviewed it in a December 17, 2021 post so I will be brief here about the plot and favorable elements. If you’d like a more in-depth look at this film from me, please refer to my earlier review.
The subject matter in general is about family relationships and specifically about the growing bond between a lonely radio journalist (played by Oscar winning Joaquin Phoenix and his overactive 8-year old nephew (played by extraordinary young actor, Woody Norman). Woody is only 11 but has already appeared in several features including Catastrophe and Troy: Fall of a City. We will surely be seeing more of this guy at the movies in the future.
Their relationship in the movie is that of a surrogate father and son. They barely know each other in the beginning so there is no parental wall of separation that might normally be there. Because of the once-removed quality, the man and boy are freer to explore their feelings together, overcome obstacles to communicate together and grow.
I absolutely adore this film and it has already won international acclaim. I’m just sorry more people haven’t and probably won’t see it unless it wins big in the upcoming awards season. As with most low budget, indie films, theatrical distribution was limited. You can stream it now, however, on Amazon Prime and I highly recommend you do. Here’s a hint though. You may want a few tissues handy for tears.
The only shortcoming is just here. The movie has a razor focused, yet almost insular quality (most likely due to budget constraints) that excludes, to its detriment, a more mainstream audience. This may have been avoided by placing the story on a more expansive canvas. I don’t think I would change the black and white film as the medium of choice, at least for the main body of the story. But could the story have achieved a more mainstream feel had the establishing and interconnecting scenes been shot in color with a wider angle? I wonder.