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Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far On Foot

Joaquin Phoenix stars in the true story of John Callahan, an alcoholic who was involved in an accident that left him a quadriplegic. The film is the story of his recovery and eventual success as a cartoonist. My overall review is very positive. The best thing about this film by far is the acting. Joaquin Phoenix is, well, as always, great. I was even more impressed with Jonah Hill, who I at first did not recognize, and who plays a gay, wealthy, and unconventional sponsor. Most of the smaller roles were great – all of the actors who played members of the core support group, and Jack Black, who has a small but powerful performance, especially at the very end of the film. I was less enamored by the way the story was told. There were some skips forward and backward in time that were a bit confusing. There was not a lot of depth on how he developed his love of cartooning, and while the film features some of his funnier (and politically incorrect) cartoons, I kept imagining them being used in a much more interesting way. For me, the film was more about the story of recovery in a 12-step program; from that perspective, I think this was Jonah Hill’s film and one of his best performances. The film gets a thumbs up from me; I really enjoyed the performances, found myself completely caught up in some of the more emotionally powerful scenes, and liked the portrayal of the unconventional nature of the sponsor and sponsee. I would be curious to know what those involved in 12-step programs think of the film.

About Gary Burkholder

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