Asked by his sister Liv (Gaby Hoffmann) to watch her energetic and inquisitive eight-year-old son Jesse (Woody Norman) in L.A. for a few days while she tends to a family emergency, Johnny (Joaquin Phoenix), a bachelor radio journalist, agrees. But when her absence becomes prolonged, and he needs to get on with his current radio verité project, in which he records the viewpoints of children around the country as to where the world is heading, he arranges to bring Jesse along with him to New York and then New Orleans.
Well, of course they bond, but before you write this off as predictable (and maybe it is, but sooo much more), go see this open-hearted and generous film, and then we’ll talk. You will find yourself affected in a hundred little ways you hadn’t expected, and that’s what an extraordinary writer/director like Mike Mills (Thumbsucker) does.
The complex dynamic between adult and child is hardly a new theme, but Mills makes it seem fresh. A huge side benefit of this poetic film is that it gives a forum to the diverse voices of American children. (109 min)