A random gem that I found whilst bored, scrolling through Amazon Prime. Starring Joaquin Phoenix, Jack Black and Jonah Hill it is a true story of the artist John Callahan and takes a interesting look into his life.
I couldn’t begin to tell you why I enjoyed this film so much.
Personally I had never heard of Callahan before this film, in fact I had to go and look whether or not he was a real person up online. He wasn’t a easy character to sympathise with, obviously you don’t want bad things to happen to anyone but before and after the accident that left him paralysed Callahan was not a nice man. Therefore they cast him perfectly with Joaquin Phoenix, one of my absolute favourite actors but at the same time a guy that can play characters that you just can’t help but dislike no matter what is happening to them.
It is a story of a man having to come to terms not only with a life changing accident but his addiction. Callahan was a alcoholic, his drinking was what caused his accident and he had to go through all the stages to understand why he drinks, who he is and how he can overcome it.
Most of the film see’s him reluctant to admit he has a problem and it can move from one point to the next with little warning or even much of a ending to that point.
You ended up wanting him to succeed though in a strange way. He isn’t a likeable character and he stays in that grey area all film long but I guess you can also see he was a broken man whose wake up call was cruel.
The star of the film was Jonah Hill though as Donnie Green, a former addict turned sobriety coach. He is the word of reason in a world that is falling apart around Callahan, he doesn’t take any shit and makes a safe place for even the hardest to love characters. Calling them all his piglets he becomes a big focus of the story and the man who can talk Callahan out of pretty much anything. It is his story that maybe hits the hardest and to be honest Hill didn’t really do much in the film anyway! Laid back, relaxed and just there to talk and be talked too he laid down wisdom at the others feet and watched as they worked towards sobriety.
Very easy to watch film that tugs at the heart strings quite a lot. It doesn’t go into a dark place keeping a very light tone about a subject that most of the time is shown as being grubby and horrible. A few of the story lines are given to us then left dangling and whilst we are left knowing that Callahan was able to live his life as best he can and found a new reason to be alive it did seem to gloss over most of his story to give you the highlights of what happened without ever diving deep enough to understand them.
It worked though.
Honestly would recommend it to anyone no matter their taste in films. Easy to watch and fascinating in places it really is a little gem that deserves a tad more recognition.