Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot

Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot


Gus Van Sant (Milk) directs fellow Academy Award nominees Joaquin Phoenix (The Master), Jonah Hill (The Wolf of Wall Street) and Rooney Mara (Carol) in this uplifting biopic on Portlandian artist John Callahan.... More

"John Callahan has a lust for life, a knack for off-colour jokes, and a drinking problem. When an all-night bender ends in a catastrophic car accident, John wakes up to the reality of being confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life. In his journey back from rock bottom, his honesty and wicked sense of humour turn out to be his saving grace, as he makes friends with an oddball AA group, finds that love is not beyond his reach, and develops a talent for drawing irreverent and sometimes shocking cartoons." (Sundance Film Festival)Hide

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Flicks Review

Charting the late John Callahan’s rocky road from alcoholism, through the car crash that left him a quadriplegic, to taking the twelve steps of Alcoholics Anonymous and gaining notoriety for his frank and darkly humorous cartoons, director Gus Van Sant (Good Will Hunting and Milk) employs a no-frills, naturalistic style, in a warts and all, decidedly unheroic portrait of a man battling his demons on the way to recovery.... More

As Callahan, Joaquin Phoenix immerses himself in the role, whether playing his inebriated younger self, or careening across Portland, Oregon’s streets in his wheelchair at speed, he inhabits his character with total commitment. The supporting cast are top notch too, with Jonah Hill a stand-out as Callahan’s guru-like AA sponsor, and Jack Black as the guilt-ridden drunk, Dexter. The main roles for women are less developed, with Rooney Mara’s hospital therapist so angelic as to seem little more than a product of Callaghan’s fevered male gaze.

Less about overcoming physical adversity and more focused on John’s coming to accept himself, his past and his unknown mother, the central performances make up for an overly lengthy run-time, jumbled narrative, and male-centric focus. Some judicious editing could have hugely benefited the tale, but employing animated versions of Callahan’s caustic cartoons to reflect on their real-life inspirations is an effective device, and Danny Elfman’s jazzy score is a delight.

Eschewing Hollywood triumph-over-disability clichés, Callaghan learns to trump his self-loathing, relying on his cartoons as his way to challenge perceptions of alcoholism, disability and good taste. Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot is neither an easy title, nor an easy film, but its focus on self-acceptance as a route to recovery is well worth the effort.Hide

The Peoples' Reviews

Average ratings from 10 ratings, 8 reviews
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BY MariaC superstar

Some great actors rolled into a decent movie. Joaquin Phoenix is fantastic in these "based on true life" stories. He's fantastic everywhere he goes. The humour amongst the darkness showed there was light at the end of the tunnel. I highly recommend this for something against the norm, you'll leave laughing.

Very interesting quite moving also funny in an ironic sense. It shows the strength of individuals who can from the depths of disappear caused mainly by self abuse, the human spirit can rise over all challenges. Some may find a bit slow (my wife was one)….but the mix of humour keeps it moving a long.

BY stirpike nobody

Slow to start but increasingly engrossing as the main character began his journey through his problem filled life.Imbued with enough humour and quirkiness to stop it becoming saccharine ,the performances were excellent and real.

BY desoi grader

Our hero is a bit of a drunken everyman whose life gets crappier when a (drunken) car crash leaves him a paraplegic. We then take a slightly quirky but fairly standard ride-along to his AA meetings and new life in which we wish him well as he slowly gets his sh!t together through the medium of cartooning - these are good too in an edgy Far Side kind of way. He seems to have better luck scoring hot women after his accident than before if the movie is to be believed.

I found it very watchable... More and I genuinely wanted him to come out of it happy and healthy, which he does. Well worth your time and dollars.Hide

BY JamieA nobody

Movies with characters who are disabled usually scream 'Oscar-Click-bait' - for all the wrong reasons.but in this finely nuanced biography of cartoonist John Callaghan, Joaquin Phoenix and a career-best from perennial sideman Jonah Hill illuminate this story with absolute understatement and distinction. Not too bitter, non too sweet, the realistically depicted Eighties era sets the tone for one man's battle for the answers to his life's quest(ions).

If you normally avoid these types of... More movies, then reset your attitude - this excellent film reminds us of the talent both behind and onscreen, but rewards you with one of the best acted films this year. Highly recommended.Hide

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The Press Reviews

  • Hill is good, finding a sincere wavelength for his role which doesn't push Donnie at us too mockingly: he's this film's equivalent of Robin Williams in Good Will Hunting. Full Review

  • Mara is an actress who deserves far more than to be arm candy. Full Review

  • Despite strong performances from Phoenix and Hill, Don't Worry can't out run its deluge of clichés. Full Review

  • Phoenix tends to get lost in his parts, which can lead him (along with his films) astray. But when his high-wire emotional arc suits the movie, there are few who can touch him. Full Review

  • This unwieldy but consistently enjoyable portrait of paraplegic local hero John Callahan is notable for its generosity of spirit and gentleness. Full Review

  • Van Sant pays tribute to the restorative power of faith, discipline and perseverance, but he also resists the temptation to follow these themes into an overly pat or complacent groove. Full Review

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