On the rocky path to sobriety after a life-changing accident, John Callahan discovers the healing power of art, willing his injured hands into drawing hilarious, often controversial cartoons, which bring him a new lease on life.
After Portland slacker John Callahan (Joaquin Phoenix) nearly loses his life in a car accident, the last thing he intends to do is give up drinking. But when he reluctantly enters treatment - with encouragement from his girlfriend (Rooney Mara) and a charismatic sponsor (Jonah Hill) - Callahan discovers a gift for drawing edgy, irreverent newspaper cartoons that develop a national following and grant him a new lease on life. Based on a true story, this poignant, insightful and often funny drama about the healing power of art is adapted from Callahan's autobiography and directed by two-time Oscar® nominee Gus Van Sant. Jack Black, Carrie Brownstein, Beth Ditto and Kim Gordon also star.
Wow, what a compelling and dramatic performance by Jonah Hill ....and of course Joaquin Phoenix. I come to expect great and unique performances in everything that Joaquin does and am never disappointed, but what really stood out to me in this film was the performance of Jonah Hill. From what the announcer at Sundance 2018 described as a "chameleon like character", Jonah really drives it home with his portrayal as Donnie, the AA friend and sponsor to Joaquin's true life character John Callahan.
Much like the comics that John Callahan has made over the years, this movie is filled with a lot of humor, despite the struggles he faced throughout his life, including his addiction to alcohol. Donnie is there as a source of inspiration and guidance to John in helping him overcome these obstacles while also providing some comic relief. Jonah's performance really gives depth and insight to Joaquin's character as he struggles to pick up the pieces of his shattered life and continues on his journey to make some of the most outlandish and though provoking comics of his time.
Overall, I highly recommend watching this, as I feel we can all relate the context on some level. It will be quite the tear jerker towards the end and also allow you to empathize with both Donnie and John as they help each other overcome life's many hardships.
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