Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot (2018) Poster

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Surprisingly great movie
williamgosselin127 July 2018
Gus Van Sant directs this beautiful film about John Callahan, alcoholic turned cripple turned cartoonist.

The heart of this story is truly inspiring. It is deep down a story about the darkest corner of the human spirit, and how through faith we can overcome anything.

Van Sant is not a very flashy director. However there is a few questioning choices he made with this film. First off, the structure of the movie is very non linear, especially at the start. This creates a rather jarring experience, and it often results in lessening the impact of what is shown. The film gets more straightforward in the second half and it picks up big time.

Another thing that is odd is the manifestation of the protagonist's mother. The effect they chose to fade her face into the frame is simply bad. It just looks awful and the whole scene feels like a stain on the film. Also the film is filled with these weird zoom in shots that looks unappealing. It is something to get use to. It's not that it's a big deal, but it looks strange, and I fail to see the purpose of these zoom in and out.

Beside these few issues, Van Sant mostly lay low and let the actors act, and they do it beautifully. At this point it is not a surprise to anyone, but Joaquin Phoenix is fantastic in this. He elevates the material to tear jerking and meaningful. He just becomes the character. Between this and You Were Never Really Here, he is guaranteed to be nominated.

Jonah Hill proves again that he is a true artist with a single scene near the ending of the film. Before that he owns every scene he has, especially the first time Callahan meets him. He has this sincere goodness and nonchalance about his character. He really nails it.

Jack Black is also great in the film. At first it seems that he is just playing his usual funny dude character, but later in the film he has a great emotional scene. Although it is very short he just shows a whole new side of him.

Rooney Mara's performance is also great, but her character is somewhat problematic. When she first arrives, she is just like an angel, beautiful, caring and funny. It is just hard to believe that she actually exists in this universe. I understand that she helps greatly Callahan to keep faith, so that might be why she is so pretty, and charming and innocent, but it still feels like she is out of place in the film. Not her fault though.

Even though the first half suffered a bit from weird editing and jumping around a lot in time, the second half made up for it. It is more than a simple drama, it becomes meaningful. The pain that Callahan feels is so relatable. After watching him go through everything he did, and knowing that he truly existed, it just inspired me to be better. To conquer my own pain and torment and to just accept who I am as a person. It is not often that a film provoke such an emotional reaction out of me. Also I nearly cried twice, which is even more unusual.

Overall this is a great movie that dealt brilliantly with the theme of overcoming our pain and suffering no matter how insurmountable it seems.

Rating: 8/10
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Beautifully done
jrob0328 July 2018
Joaquin Phoenix driving this heart breaking story gives the audience such a true sense of the unbearable. The will to overcome the tragedy that had changed his life and the dissection of the true problem he faces is remarkable. All of the people that play into his recovery give him the faith and the strength he needs in order to better himself. Jonah Hill and the entire group of AA members are all in the same boat. His selfish desire to lead that group of misfits turns him into a selfless man by giving them exactly what they need. Having such a positive impact on these people is very heartwarming to watch. Rooney Mara fits her character like a glove. She was the exact piece of the puzzle that John Callahan needed. Such a good hearted beautiful woman. Makes you very glad to see these people exist. What a story. Very happy to see it on screen.
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Jonah Hill Steals the Spotlight
imabigkidnow8830 January 2018
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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Sincere in its intention but jumbled in its execution
DJKwa11 July 2018
//Revelation Film Festival Review//

Joaquin Phoenix delivers another extraordinary performance bringing to life the true story of John Callahan, a man who finds his calling as a cartoonist following a devastating car accident that left him a quadriplegic. Unfortunately, for all of Phoenix's best efforts, he's let down by a disjointed narrative that jumps all over the place leaving the film feeling jumbled and confused.

Compounding the disappointment is the knowledge that it's the first film from veteran indie filmmaker Gus Van Sant (Good Will Hunting, Milk) following his disastrous The Sea of Trees. Despite being made with sincere and genuine intentions, Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot seems to been made in the same blender as Van Sant's previous mess. Maybe he's loosing his touch?
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Being a huge film fan, sometimes minor drunk, and a very passionate artist, I could really relate to this film!
Hellmant27 July 2018
'DON'T WORRY, HE WON'T GET FAR ON FOOT': Four and a Half Stars (Out of Five)

The new comedy-drama biopic based on the autobiography of cartoonist John Callahan, detailing his story of how he came to sobriety after severe alcoholism. It was directed by Gus Van Sant, and written by Van Sant, Jack Gibson and William Andrew Eaton. The movie stars Joaquin Phoenix (as Callahan), Jonah Hill, Rooney Mara and Jack Black. Danny Elfman also did the score for the film. It's received mostly positive reviews from critics, and it's playing in select indie theaters now (like Portland). I found it to be really well made, and quite involving.

John Callahan (Phoenix) was a horrendous alcoholic, living in Portland, OR, when he got into a car accident which left him severely disabled. The disastrous accident just makes him even more depressed, and more addicted to the dangerous drug as well. Then he falls for a woman named Annu (Mara), who works at the hospital he's first treated at, and she encourages him to enter rehab. With the help of a really supportive sponsor (Hill), John keeps at it. When he starts drawing popular, but highly controversial, newspaper cartoons, John's life really starts to change for the better.

I've definitely had times when I've drank too much in my life; not to the extent of the characters in this movie but I could still really relate to that important part of this film. I could also really relate to how John used alcohol as medication, for handling past trauma in his life (I know this is something a lot of drinkers do). Then again I could also really relate to the beautiful healing magic of art, presented in this movie, especially creating it (I'm a very obsessed aspiring filmmaker). Being a huge film fan, sometimes minor drunk, and a very passionate artist, I could really relate to this film. Especially also now that I live in the PDX area (where this was set). It's my favorite city ever!
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Nice That John Callahan Had a Movie Made About Him However
LeonardHaid13 July 2018
A poorly-written script grandstanding liberal political correctness and dollar-store philosophy with a sappy button-pushing soundtrack throughout to remind the viewers that they are constantly witnessing touching and deep drama. Overall, it's yet another exaggerated attempt by Hollywood movie makers to be real and soulful, and of course to try to connect with as many sizable American demographic groups as possible. Nasty thing to say, but I got tired of all the close-ups of obese faces.

The story is about a victim who overcomes victimization, so I did not want to dislike this movie. But when the sage Alcoholics Anonymous guru said in a moment of epiphanic clarity,"My grandparents were rich, my parents were rich, and I grew up rich. Like, it's so funny," I realized that that was not just an isolated dumb moment, but fairly representative of the whole movie. Why are people so taken with this guru guy anyway? He announces that he is going to New York City to "get his freak on", and then we see him in a hotel doing a silly this supposed to be charming? A man railing against women in the military out of nowhere and for no apparent reason other than, I'm cynically thinking, the makers of this movie got to check "show sexism" off the checklist.

The best thing about this movie is the cartoons, which are actual cartoons drawn by the brilliant cartoonist John Callahan. See the movie for the cartoons and for Joaquin Phoenix's acting. Beyond that it's a steady stream of cheese.
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Brilliant, especially Joaquin Phoenix
subxerogravity15 July 2018
I found it to be a strangely dark comedy. Or rather it was funny despite the subject manner.

So technically a true story about a man named John Callahan who was an alcoholic and became paralyzed in a car accident because of his addiction to the bottle, but ends up living his best life due to his involvement with alcoholics anonymous.

So maybe not so dark now that I think about it as the story was uplifting and inspiring.

Joaquin Phoenix was a pleasure to see on the screen. Very lively and believable as a man chasing some demons, but keeping his sense of humor and positive attitude.

And we needed that liveliness as some of the 12 steps in the movie were not that flush out as well as others.

Gus Van Sant's ability to do such a serious content and give it to us in a humorous way makes for an Impressive film.
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Nothing new
Rendanlovell30 September 2018
Gus Van Sant brings great energy to the project and it benefits from a strong leading performance. The film isn't anything really special or unique and it doesn't exactly explore things with much depth. Yet, I still enjoyed the energy of the filmmaking and found myself having a good time with it.
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tudorpsih1 October 2018
After a point, you'll discern between a good movie and a mediocre one with your favorite actor in it. It's worth watching if you have an obsession with any actor involved in this (most of them bring their A game), but not a good movie.
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With tracking down
Saint_Pauley6 April 2018
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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Enough of Joaquin's face already...
kaptenvideo-898751 September 2018
Sometime during the first hour of watching this, I started feeling a distinct sensation of displeasure, and suddenly realized that I've fallen out of love with Joaquin Phoenix, the movie's star.

I used to really like the man. It's not that he appeared in interesting projects only, but he was, you know, really cool.

This unique and expressive face, this strange heaviness he always carried, how the first name is pronounced, the family history, inclination to method acting...

Then he decided he was done with acting. But knowing what one is sick of doesn't mean that one knows what to do instead, so he returned. But the magic was slowly but steadily declining.

He's still good actor but I just can't take any more of his pompousness; how seriously he seems to take himself as a true auteur; how the camera often centers on his face (because we should admire his method acting as close as possible?); the decision to do only "ambitious" roles now...

"Don't Worry..." is a perfect example of how too much of a good thing can be bad.

It actually has a lot of commendable stuff going for it. But the writer-director Gus Van Sant has turned the result into overlong tedious bore which prefers showing Phoenix's bloated mug to everything else, hoping this will mesmerize the viewer for two hours.

On paper, there is an intriguing real-life story of alcoholic seeking redemption and failing even after having a terrible accident because of drinking.

There's also semi-interesting subthread going on about the differences between art and craft - the central hero is a controversial cartoonist - but it's too fleetingly used to really make a mark. As a result, he seems much more annoying and much less inspiration as surely intended.

What's overused, on the other hand, are lazy monologues, sometimes disguised as dialogues. This is what the movie really has in abundance, in addition to the leading man's face.

Also, there's a cool supporting cast including Jonah Hill and Jack Black who have relatively little screen time but turn out to be way more captivating and colorful than the grumpy drunkard at the center of the story.

Hill has never looked cooler on screen, too, like a hipster Jesus. Black, on the other hand, showcases this delicious dynamic energy that his fans may remember from his earlier career, before all these mediocre projects that he has appeared in during 2010's.

To be fair, "Don't Worry's" s failing is not mainly Phoenix's fault. As a filmmaker, Van Sant has often veered dangerously close to getting too artsy for his own good.

This is not even the worst example of his work turning limp and lifeless as a result of it - that honor probably belongs to 2002's "Gerry" - but the situation is bad for sure.

So, I have had enough of Phoenix, and "Don't Worry..." turned out to be my breaking point.

Don't even know how it happened - I usually don't tire of favorites no matter how much similar crap they offer, even Nicolas Cage, Dwayne Johnson, or Adam Sandler.

All in all, I'd advise against seeing this movie. It's tedious and slow, not as smart or funny as the authors probably imagined.

The only project I have really liked after Phoenix's second coming is "Her" which is much less about him being such an amazing genius and relies on good old moviemaking qualities such as intelligent story and deft execution.

I am happy that I don't watch comic book based movies anymore, so I don't have to endure Phoenix as the next Joker when this plan bears fruit.
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Worth to see for Pheonix and Hill
Alexander_Blanchett20 February 2018
It was a tolerable drama about a alcohol addict who is bound to a wheelchair after a drinking caused car accident. The film shows how he cope with both his addiction and the new situation with the wheelchair. It is also a biopic about artist John Callahan. Joaquin Phoenix wonderfully portrays that troubled character and gives a great performance. He is one of the main reasons why this movie should be seen. Another powerhouse performance he can add to his resume. Jonah Hill also absolutely shines. He has one emotional scene towards the end that once again proves what a great and talented character and drama actor he is. I am glad this talent is noticed after his two Oscar nominations and that he keeps getting those roles. Rooney Mara was a bit wasted. She was lovely and had a lovely character but really not all that much to do in the film. Gus Van Sant delivers most of the time, but the film had too many lengths and I wasnt a fan of the time shifting he used. Still a good film for sure, especially to watch Phoenix and Hill.
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Good arthouse-style biopic drama movie, effective direction
svhot23 January 2018
Warning: Spoilers
Joaquin Phoenix shines in this biopic movie as the real life paralysed cartoonist Callahan. Viewers are given the opportunity of getting to know his story through a series of flashbacks. He is shown speaking at Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, being feted at some function / event , interacting with skate kids, getting positive / negative / controversial responses to his cartoons.

We also get to see on screen the tragic incident ( drunk-and-drive type accident, actually) which paralysed Callahan. Phoenix will definitely be remembered for this fine, artistic performance as a paralysed cartoonist. Mr Gus Van Sant has done an effective work as a director on this movie. I would love to become a story-writer for movies. You can contact me on
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Joaquin Phoenix and Jonah Hill are at their all time best here
ccorral41914 July 2018
Two- time Academy Award Nominee Director Gus Van Sant ("Good Will Hunting," "Milk") once again hits is out of the park here, with this sure be nominated film about comic writer (and film producer here) John Callahan. Callahan (touchingly played by Joaquin Phoenix) is a partier, specializing in alcohol. When he meets his match in Dexter (Jack Black), their one night escaped leaves Callahan permanently in a wheel chair. Through his recovery, social worker/girlfriend Unna introduces him to an AA group, lead by Donnie (beautifully portrayed by Jonah Hill). Working with Donnie and his piglets (AA ensemble group: Beth Ditto, Mark Webber "13 Sins," Kim Gordon "The Perks of being a Wallflower, "Ronnie Adreain "Key and Peele" and Udo Kier "Downsizing"), and in his made for speed wheel chair, Callahan grows into the man he was supposed to be, while coming in touch with his past and establishing himself as a satirical cartoonist. Because the real John Callahan is a cartoonist with a wacky sense of humor, "Don't Worry..." manages to keep the tragedy of this real life story light-hearted and funny, while equally tragic. We know Phoenix's has the ability to give weight to these type of unique characters, but it is Hill who really steps outside of his usual comic comfort zone here, and it's beautiful to watch both these guys in action. It's rare that such honesty in film can be delivered with such humor. "Don't Worry..." will be nominated come award season, so now is your chance to be the first to see this film.
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road to recovery
ferguson-620 July 2018
Greetings again from the darkness. Being neither an alcoholic, an artist nor a quadriplegic, I found myself wondering if I would be able to connect at all with the real life story of John Callahan. At most, I figured another stellar, oddball performance from Joaquin Phoenix might keep me engaged. It turns out, director Gus Van Sant (GOOD WILL HUNTING, 1999) focuses more on the quite interesting road to sobriety ... a road that also happens to lead directly to a reason to live.

Based on Mr. Callahan's autobiography, the film stars the enigmatic Mr. Phoenix. First seen as a 21 year old (a bit of a stretch) slacker who constantly needs a "fix" of alcohol, no matter the time of day, the talented actor excels after the alcohol-induced car accident that robs Callahan completely of the use of his legs, leaving him only minimal function with arms and hands. Even this doesn't inspire Callahan to give up the bottle. However, a vision of his mother does. Callahan's mommy issues are a key element of the story, as she gave him up for infant adoption - leading to many years of drowning his self-pity in whatever type of alcohol was in the glass.

The film picks up some momentum once Callahan begins attending AA group therapy sessions conducted by Donnie (Jonah Hill). Donnie is part Zen sponsor and trust fund guru. It's a wonderful performance from Mr. Hill, who makes the most of each of his scenes. Others in the group include a terrific (musician) Beth Ditto, Kim Gordon (of Sonic Youth fame), (German icon) Udo Kier, Ronnie Adrian and Mark Webber. Individually they don't have much to do, but they do make for a fascinating group. Also appearing are Tony Greenhand as Callahan's attendant, the fabulously talented Carrie Brownstein ("Portlandia"), and Rooney Mara as Callahan's physical therapist-turned-girlfriend. Ms. Mara is especially short-changed in the script.

It was 1972 and Callahan was 21 when the car accident left him a quadriplegic. Slowly, he discovered his talent as a cartoonist - albeit a controversial and darkly funny one. In today's climate of political correctness, it's likely Callahan would find no audience, but at the time, he developed a national following. This was the time of other single panel cartoonists like Gary Larson and Bill Watterson.

Attempting to avoid the traditional and familiar biopic structure, director Van Sant (who has a cameo) chops the movie into bits that work better individually than as a whole. At times it plays like an advertisement for Alcoholics Anonymous. But some of the bits are outstanding. The film is somehow both funny and sad, and includes a terrific scene near the end with Callahan and Jack Black's Dexter reuniting for the first time since the accident. It's a powerfully honest scene.

A destructive lifestyle doesn't always lead to good things, and substance abuse is not very entertaining - though, the road to recovery can be. Getting of glimpse of the 12 step program, we see that not drinking is merely the beginning. It's like a runner who must first lace up his shoes before beginning the actual run. Callahan died in 2010 at age 59, but his impact continues.
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Biopic misfire has its moments; Jonah Hill stunningly miscast
PotassiumMan6 August 2018
Usually a Gus Van Sant film with a cast like this would be a slam dunk. It does choose a worthwhile subject matter, the story of John Callahan and how he used his controversial but humorous cartoons and support from fellow alcoholics to recover from a devastating car accident that left him a quadriplegic. This film's good intentions cannot be questioned. But it nevertheless falls short for a couple of reasons.

Only a handful of scenes have the emotional resonance that justify this film's having been made. A kernel of emotional truth and the human condition exist at the core. Everything else, sadly, I've already forgotten. Callahan's backstory before his accident is told in threadbare, scattershot fashion. Who he became after his horrible accident is laid out a bit more competently.

Joaquin Phoenix acquits himself admirably in a role that, at first blush, seems off-kilter and too lowbrow even for him. With his performance here, Phoenix's range is no longer in doubt. He brings Callahan to life. Jonah Hill doesn't quite come away with the same achievement. I've seen him in a decent range of performances. He simply doesn't disappear into the role; rather he sticks out and keeps poking the viewer in the eye. His pimp-like performance as Callahan's gay AA sponsor/group leader is so incongruous that even Hill's best efforts cannot overcome how staggering a miscasting this was. Jack Black has a pivotal role in the film and he makes a nice contribution. Rooney Mara is a welcome presence here but is wasted as Callahan's caretaker with only a few scenes.

I decline to recommend this film, because most of it is quite forgettable, despite a yeoman effort.
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Good Enough
pennyelenabooks25 October 2018
I can't say that this movie is a memorable one. It is well produced and excecuted, honest and realistic, but it didn't leave an impact. The performances were really great, expecially from the male lead. However, the plot sometimes got a bit confusing, as the timelines tangled together. In the end, it was just an okay movie.
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This was a Comedy not a Drama..
BatmanFunReviews201830 September 2018
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. Joaquin Phoenix continues to disappoint with his selection of roles and with 'Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot' reaches serious rock bottom and i'm sorry but i never felt sorry for him not even once but i actually laughed quite a few by his terrible perfomance and personality so that's something i guess? Poor Jack Black tho.
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A treat to watch, and doing so helped me become a better person
djcabrera10 August 2018
I watched this randomly, knowing nothing about it. This is now my favorite film of the year. It was kind of an emotional roller coaster, but in all the right ways.

The theater I watched this in allowed alcoholic drinks, which I nervously consumed due to the subject matter being related in a way that reveals the horror of consequences that can follow a night of drinking; lives completely altered in mere moments.

I would recommend this movie to all ages 16+ including friends and family.

Worth noting... I observed a few people in wheelchairs watching from in front of me. It was distracting at first to see screens glowing in front of them for subtitles. My frustration very quickly disappeared as the movie went on... please be patient if screens bother you.

Enjoy the movie!
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Les Miserables
udayday-718937 October 2018
This movie is the most miserable, boring,gloomy and slow, and it is difficult to watching to the end. Isn't enough that the main actor is psycho and intolerable.
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A lot of love in this film
ThurstonHunger29 October 2018
Warning: Spoilers
Not just the sweet nurse/stewardess/wife, nor the disco bear for his chaotic piglets, but Van Sant for John Callahan. A small favorite is Callahan with the editorial staff of the school paper too. The talented Joaquin Phoenix almost disappears into the Callahan role, who almost disappeared to drink.

Something about a Phoenix working with Van Sant, and then those scenes with the Portland skate youth, felt like a glimpse of the GVS' Own Private Portland.

For a redemption story that bends towards hope, I actually thought it avoided some of the saccharine others complained about. Surely there's love for the 12 Step Program, but if something works to saves lives....and it seems it did for Mr. Callahan, then halleluiah be Chucky's name.
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Gus van Sant really knows people
andrei-pinta14 December 2018
This film is great because it puts a spotlight on a vulnerable, decaying, suffering human being. If you've been there, you'll be more impressed by the movie. And as well on his turnover to a meaningfull life. The one moment which gave me the key in which to read the movie, was the last speech in front of the audience of friends, nurses, acquaintances, where he thanks them, because without them he wouldn't be there. This realisation that we are what we are, in a large extent, because of others, of what they provided, healed, teached, carry us further, made me cry:) thanks Gus van Sant, for an amazing movie. You really know people.
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A film of humanity and digity living in the moment and accepting reality.
blanbrn10 December 2018
Director Gus Van Sant always makes movies that speak truth and tells passion with stories about the ups and downs of life. This based on a true story does just the same as "Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot" entertains with emotions, drama, and fun moments that are heartfelt as you really feel for the central character of John Callahan(in a good turn from Joaquin Phoenix). As this gentleman has a lust for life and drama of having a good time and chasing women and most of all drinking, until things change after a one night bender with a car accident causing great change. Upon entering treatment and rehab a fresh new light and gift is discovered a talent of drawing cartoon newspaper characters gives a new lease on life. The film is a mix of reflection of life and the healing power that art can bring changes and the power to heal the soul. The chemistry is well rounded by Jonah Hill, Jack Black, and Rooney Mara. Overall worth a watch for it's sentimental heartfelt emotional feel.
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Wonderful little movie!
Darth_Osmosis18 August 2018
A heartwarming and moving story. Life affirming even wile it's showing how messed up things could get and how unpleasant life might be, or perhaps it is that precisely cause it shows those things. Joaquin Phoenix is great and Jonah Hill gives perhaps his best non-comedic performance, Rooney Mara and Jack Black are good as the supporting cast!
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Paints a pretty clear picture of a real-life person without ever feeling like a typical bio-pic.
Pjtaylor-96-13804429 October 2018
'Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far On Foot (2018)' is sometimes unfocused - in fact, often so - but it is also always engaging and, though it usually focuses on hardships, entertaining, too. There are several human moments that break through the flick's messy structure and occasional tonal hiccups and, though it's never incredibly emotionally impactful and feels far too long, it's always compelling and paints a pretty clear portrait of a real-life person without actually feeling like a bio-pic at all. This is helped by the fact that it's backed by great performances and a dedication to see them brought to life in as real a way as possible. In fact, 'dedication' is a term that's very applicable to this particular picture considering that it has been in 'development hell' since the late nineties. 7/10
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