C'mon C'mon

image for C'mon C'mon

Short takes

Not suitable under 14; parental guidance to 15 (themes and coarse language)

classification logo

This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for C'mon C'mon
  • a review of C'mon C'mon completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 16 February 2022.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 14 Not suitable due to themes and coarse language.
Children aged 14–15 Parental guidance recommended due to themes and coarse language.
Children aged 16 and over Ok for this age group.

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines. Other classification advice (OC) is provided where the Australian film classification is not available.

Name of movie: C'mon C'mon
Classification: M
Consumer advice lines: Coarse language
Length: 110 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Radio journalist, Johnny (Joaquin Phoenix), is travelling the States working on a project interviewing children to give them a voice on global issues; to hear their perspectives about what adults can do to help; and offer them a chance to speak of things they have never spoken of before. Johnny and his sister, Viv (Gaby Hoffmann), had a falling out after their mother passed away and a chance phone call on the anniversary of her death puts them back in contact with each other. Upon learning that his young nephew, Jesse (Woody Norman), has no one to look after him while Viv travels to help Jesse’s father get the support he needs for a mental illness, Johnny volunteers to look after the boy. When things don’t go to plan and Viv finds herself staying away longer than she had intended, Johnny takes Jesse on the road with him to New York City and New Orleans. The two push each other to breaking point, both mentally and emotionally, and, in the process, develop an unbreakable bond whilst learning more than they had ever imagined.


Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Mental Illness; Child separated from parents; Loneliness; Global issues facing humanity such as environmental catastrophes; Life after death; Racism; Immigration.

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is some violence in this movie, including:

  • Jesse has a bedtime ritual that involves pretending to be an orphan and interacting with his mother. The scenario goes that there were other children who made mistakes and were killed because of them. Jesse role-plays finding out what the mistakes might be in order that he understands how he could also be killed.
  • A boy describes how his dad is in jail and how he just wants to protect his little sister so that she never has to experience what he did. Violence is implied but not overtly shared.
  • Jesse’s dad is told to remove his shoelaces when he checks into a hospital as this reduces the risk of suicide.
  • Johnny’s mother dies previously (scenes are shown of her being very sick and in bed) and he and Viv shout and argue about how to deal with her behaviour.
  • A child is interviewed about Hurricane Katrina and the destruction that took place. The child mentions how someone died in his house.
  • Jesse informs Johnny that his mother had an abortion.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

  • None noted.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes and scary visual images, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged five to eight, including the following:

  • Jesse hides from Johnny in a store, only coming out to laugh when he sees that Johnny is in a state of panic. Johnny is very angry that Jesse doesn’t seem to care how much he scared him and starts yelling at him in the store. Jesse gets upset and races out of the shop.
  • Jesse wanders off in New York when Johnny doesn’t quickly take him to the park. Johnny panics again, searching everywhere, until he finally sees Jesse across the street. Jesse is angry at Johnny for ‘losing him’ and jumps on a random bus. Johnny follows him. Both scenes are frantic when Jesse is lost, and Johnny’s anger may disturb some children.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

  • Nothing further of concern.

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in this movie:

  • In a shop Saint Ives toiletries are clearly displayed as are Oil of Olay moisturisers.
  • The book The Wizard of Oz is shown and parts are read aloud.
  • The book Star Child by Claire A. Nivola is shown, discussed and parts are read aloud.

Sexual references

  • None noted.

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some nudity and sexual activity in this movie, including:

  • Johnny takes Jesse to a Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans where revellers are wearing tight, revealing and flamboyant outfits.
  • One woman is shown with cones on her breasts while another has both breasts exposed but her nipples are covered by shiny disks.

Use of substances

  • None noted.

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • Frequent use of the words, ‘fuck’, ‘fucking’ and ‘fucked’.
  • ‘Bullshit’ and ‘shit’ are used with less frequency.
  • ‘Ass’ and ‘asshole’ are used on occasion.
  • ‘Damn’ and ‘God Damn’.
  • ‘Stupid’.

In a nutshell

C’mon C’mon is a black and white documentary that offers an in depth look at certain aspects of human behaviour and how kids fit into an adult world. The film offers some excellent performances but it really takes its time and is very slow paced. It will likely lack interest for most children but will be best enjoyed by older, mature, audiences.

The main messages from this movie are that life is full of ups and downs and that sometimes things that you would never imagine could happen actually do; and, despite these challenges, you just have to keep going the best way you can.

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • Patience
  • Understanding
  • Helpfulness
  • Compassion
  • Forgiveness.

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children attitudes and behaviours, and their real-life consequences, such as:

  • The dangers of wandering off in an unfamiliar city or place.
  • The impact of watching someone you love suffer from mental illness.
  • The importance of being able to communicate and share feelings of loneliness or fear with others, rather than keeping it to yourself.
  • The negative effects of violence, racism or prejudice on kids and the way that they often feel overwhelmed by the environmental threats currently facing humanity.