A lost radio journalist puts on a happy face when he is entrusted with the care of his estranged sister’s son and travels across the country looking for hope for the future.
The kids may be alright, but the adults are struggling in Mike Mills’ compassionate and optimistic ode to the next generation of thinkers and the distraught adults attempting not to ruin everything for them in the process. Heralded for his semi-autobiographical films Beginnings and 20TH CENTURY WOMEN, Mike Mills might be one of the most empathetic filmmakers of our times. His latest stars Joaquin Phoenix in his most comforting and sophisticated role yet. As producer of a NYC-based radio show, Johnny (Phoenix) has embarked on an ambitious mission to interview kids from all over the continent about their dreams, fears, and experiences amid a chaotic and inflamed present. Days filled with aspirations lead to lonely evenings pontificating on the purpose of it all until the solemn bachelor receives a phone call from his sister after over a year of silence. The exhausted Viv (an unmatched and mature Gaby Hoffmann) shamefully pleads for her brother to visit their SoCal home to watch her son while she attends to her own existential issues. Johnny is intrigued by the chance to get out of his own head and serve a meaningful purpose by having a temporary go at parenting. But his wildly precocious nephew Jesse (Woody Norman) unexpectedly becomes a mirror, a therapist, and, unfortunately, a headache for Johnny as they navigate the streets of LA, New York, and beyond. With his powerful trifecta of neuroses, guilt, and wonder, Mills has created a humorous and benevolent story that may look to the future, but is firmly grounded in the here and now.
CAST: Joaquin Phoenix, Gaby Hoffmann, Jaboukie Young-White, Elaine Kagan
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