Rather than being released as a film, should be required viewing in all colleges and universities.
This is a valuable film despite the fact it is not particularly entertaining. In a world where all adults face unexpected twists and turns, how do we expect kids to adjust?
In this film, Joaquin Phoenix plays Johnny, a radio journalist crossing the country interviewing children. Single, he agrees to watch his nephew Jesse so that Viv, his sister and Jesse’s mother, can take time to care for her emotionally troubled husband.
The strength of the film flows from the performances of Gaby Hoffman as Viv and Woody Norman as Jesse. When Johnny is forced to leave L.A. where Viv lives, and take Jesse to New York where he works, an adventure begins that strengthens all three of them.
As noted above, I found this film to be more socially meaningful than entertaining. It functions more as an educational seminar where you watch kids reflect on their future and adults attempting to deal with life’s occasional agonies.
In the process Johnny and Viv reconnect in a way that will warm your heart. In the process, Jesse finds a way to burst out of an emotional cocoon where he finds strength from smiling.
As I watched this movie, I kept thinking of that young boy who shot and killed those students in Michigan. He was obviously emotionally disturbed and fell through society’s cracks where no one was able to help.
This film is a reminder that all children need our love and care. That is why I firmly believe that public schools should be open 12 months each year, not 9. Eliminate summer vacations where many kids are lost to the street.