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.
Director Gus van Sant has a cameo role as the Willamette week editor. See more »
When John and Annu meet in the bookstore, the time frame would appear to be the late 1970s or early 1980s. While the focus on the shelves is blurry, there are clearly recognizable covers, including Norton's 1995 reissue of A Clockwork Orange and Chris Cleave's 2008 novel Little Bee. See more »
I think there's a very fine line between creating chaos because of the adventure, and creating chaos because of a dependency on it
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From a technical viewpoint, very well executed - lighting and Cinematography were excellent. As for writing - every character in this is so well conveyed that the actors are able to do the story justice. Joaquin Phoenix did an excellent job as expected - both him and Jonah Hill really showed some emotional range in their roles. Rooney Mara's performance was great and her chemistry with Mr. Callahan was palpable; although not nearly as much so as Mr. Callahan's screen chemistry with Donny. Even the time Jack Black and Joaquin have on screen together is magical - and weirdly enough I don't think they could've cast anyone better for Jack Black's character.
The movie ended up being more of an exploration of 12 step program than I expected, but by the end it actually gave me deeper insight and understanding of those struggling with alcoholism who seek help. Knowing tons of people who've gone through the program (recurring ones and success stories) it's given me a slightly deeper appreciation for anyone's struggle/experience.
5 of 6 people found this review helpful.
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