Approx advert and trailer run time: 25 mins
Film run time: 1hr 53m
Gus Van Sant (Good Will Hunting, My Own Private Idaho) deploys an expert cast to craft a piece feel-good genius based on the memoir of cartoonist John Callahan.
When John’s (Joaquin Phoenix) hedonistic lifestyle is inconvenienced by a drunken car accident that renders him wheelchair-bound, the last thing he wants to do is give up alcohol. At first he marinates in self-pity, finding it difficult to navigate his new life as a quadriplegic— taking his new chair to the streets is especially difficult and lands him in hospital, where he meets the young volunteer therapist Annu (Rooney Mara).
Encouraged by his charismatic sponsor (Jonah Hill), Callahan reluctantly enters an alcoholism treatment program. He discovers he has a knack for drawing, and soon creating off-colour cartoons becomes an outlet for his rage and cutting wit.
Phoenix gets brilliantly lost in the character as always, really making you feel the artist’s scrappy joy in sticking it to his critics.
The title of the film really sets the tone; it is frankly told, with an injection of down-to-earth comedy that softens the edges of a story full of touching humanity.