Radio journalist Johnny (Joaquin Phoenix) is travelling around the United States, working on a project to interview children and give them a voice on global issues. He wants to hear their perspectives about what adults can do to help and offer them a chance to speak about things they don’t usually speak about.
Johnny and his sister, Viv (Gaby Hoffmann), have been estranged since their mother passed away, but a chance phone call on the anniversary of her death puts them back in contact with each other. Johnny learns that his young nephew, Jesse (Woody Norman), has no-one to look after him while Viv helps Jesse’s father get support for a mental illness. So Johnny volunteers to look after Jesse.
When things don’t go to plan and Viv must stay away longer than she’d intended, Johnny takes Jesse with him to New York City and New Orleans. Johnny and Jesse push each other to breaking point, both mentally and emotionally. In the process, they also develop an unbreakable bond and learn more than they’d ever imagined.
Mental illness; child separated from parents; loneliness; global issues facing humanity including environmental catastrophes; life after death; racism; immigration
C’mon C’mon has some violence. For example:
- Jesse has a bedtime ritual that involves pretending to be an orphan. In his scenario, there are children who have made mistakes and been killed because of them. Jesse pretends to find out what the mistakes are so he understands how he could also be killed.
- A boy describes how his father is in jail and he wants to protect his little sister so that she never has to experience the things he has. Violence is implied but not overtly shared.
- Jesse’s father is told to remove his shoelaces when he checks into a hospital. This is to reduce the risk of suicide.
- Flashback scenes show Johnny’s mother very sick in bed before she dies. Johnny and Viv shout and argue.
- A child is interviewed about Hurricane Katrina and the destruction it caused. The child mentions that someone died in his house.
- Jesse tells Johnny that his mother had an abortion.
There are no sexual references in C’mon C’mon.
Alcohol, drugs and other substances
There’s no use of substances in C’mon C’mon.
Nudity and sexual activity
C’mon C’mon has some nudity and sexual activity. For example:
- Johnny takes Jesse to a Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans where people are wearing tight, revealing and flamboyant outfits.
- One woman is shown with cones on her breasts. Another woman has both breasts exposed, but her nipples are covered by shiny disks.
The following products are displayed or used in C’mon C’mon:
- A shop displays Saint Ives toiletries and Oil of Olay moisturisers.
- The book The Wizard of Oz is shown and read aloud.
- The book Star Child by Claire A. Nivola is shown, discussed and read aloud.
There’s some coarse language in C’mon C’mon.
Ideas to discuss with your children
C’mon C’mon is a black and white drama that offers an in-depth look at how children fit into and see the adult world. The movie has some excellent performances, but it’s very slow paced. It will likely lack interest for most children, although older, mature audiences will enjoy it.
The main messages from C’mon C’mon are that life is full of ups and downs and sometimes unimaginable things happen. Despite these challenges, you have to keep going as best you can.
Values in C’mon C’mon that you could reinforce with your children include patience, understanding, helpfulness, compassion and forgiveness.
C’mon C’mon could also give you the chance to talk with your children about real-life issues and their consequences, like the:
- dangers of wandering off in an unfamiliar city or place
- effects of watching someone you love suffer from mental illness
- importance of communicating and sharing feelings of loneliness or fear with others
- negative effects of violence, racism, prejudice and environmental threat on children.