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.
A traumatized veteran, unafraid of violence, tracks down missing girls for a living. When a job spins out of control, Joe's nightmares overtake him as a conspiracy is uncovered leading to what may be his death trip or his awakening.
1921. An innocent immigrant woman is tricked into a life of burlesque and vaudeville until a dazzling magician tries to save her and reunite her with her sister who is being held in the confines of Ellis Island.
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.
Rooney Mara and Joaquin Phoenix have also worked together in Her (2013) and Mary Magdalene (2018). See more »
John draws a cartoon about a Starbucks appearing in some guy's rectum - the joke being there are Starbucks everywhere, but Starbucks didn't franchise until the 80s and wasn't 'everywhere' until the the 90s/2000s. This film takes place in the late 70s/early 80s. See more »
Like an AA meeting: disjointed, funny, moving, boring, inspiring and, ultimately, rewarding.
The actors are mesmerising. Joaquin Phoenix recovers nicely here from his misstep with Mary Magdalene but it's Jonah Hill as the sage gay sponsor who steals the film with a subtle portrayal imbued with nonchalant spirituality. Rock stars Kim Gordon (Sonic Youth) and Beth Ditto (Gossip) make appearances and Ditto turns in a solid gold performance that left me hoping she'll continue down the acting path.
Despite being overlong and bogged down with unnecessarily complicated timeline, the overall film moved me and made me glad I got past the clunky title and misleading rom-com poster.
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