Movies are indispensable for me in my understanding of the world. Trying on for size the risk and emotional worlds that are invented in film, I get to work out what I didn’t feel the safety to do in my early life.
I miss movie theaters and the feeling of immersion. The giant screen and the rumbling sound. I want to be lost in it.
Someone once told me that going to pee during a movie is the closest we will ever get to experiencing being a ghost. The extreme quiet and solitude, but more so: hearing the faint sounds and vibrations that connote groups of people experiencing the delusions of an experience. Inside there is heartbreak and explosions and magic but the ghost knows they are all illusions, as in life.
I just got home from seeing C’mon C’mon. It’s the story of a radio journalist who temporarily assumes an on-the-road custody of his young nephew while his sister tends to the machinations of treatment for her severely bi-polar husband.
What the film affords by way of common experience is the occasion of family. An uncle and a mother trying earnestly and open-heartedly to untangle the web that is making a child feel safe and loved. This film is so heartfelt and profound in its telling and in some ways blurs the lines of reality. Included are a series of real-life interviews with children. As they travel the world making this podcast, they have interviews with real, human kids. Not actors. There are fits and spurts of achingly raw insight and revelation.
And speaking of revelation, Woody Norman, who plays the young Jesse, is easily the most talented child actor I’ve ever seen. The subtlety of insight and complete understanding of his character at once pulled me simultaneously into my child self and also my protective adult and I thought of all the humans I have parented in my lifetime. I was overwhelmed by this identification.
The performances by Joaquin Phoenix and Gabby Hoffman are bursting with authentic love and brokenness. You just want to jump into their arms and feel the feeling of being cared for in this way.
I think this film is special in how both adult and child perspectives are treated with equality. It transcends the right and wrong dichotomy and shows that we are all trying to be our best and we all ultimately want to feel loved and safe.