Movie Review: ‘Daddio’

by | Jun 27, 2024 | Featured Post, Movie Reviews, Movies | 0 comments

Greetings again from the darkness. “MY DINNER WITH ANDRE in a NYC taxi cab.” That’s my description of writer-director Christy Hall’s first feature film. Of course, that’s an over-simplification, as her film deals with gender roles, socio-economic topics, and a big ol’ dose of emotional baggage. It’s what’s known in the business as a two-hander. We have two characters and one setting and a whole bunch of talking. Casting being crucial here, filmmaker Hall did choose wisely with Dakota Johnson and two-time Oscar winner Sean Penn.

Johnson’s character (billed only as “Girlie”) arrives at JFK airport and catches a cab to midtown. She and the driver, Clark (Penn) exchange generic banter, but soon enough Clark breaks the barrier by stunning her with his analysis of her situation, based on observation skills honed through 20 years of driving a NYC cab. He’s been around the proverbial block a few times and Penn is permitted to work in a monologue about his disappointment with humanity, commerce, and technology. We learn he views himself as a common man ‘Vinny’, and we learn she’s a coder by profession – as well as a nail biter who’s texting a mysterious man – a man not shy in pleading with her for a sext.

A traffic jam on the highway stalls the trip, but accelerates the conversation. Clark gets more inside info from the woman he’s determined “can handle yourself”, and their quasi – quid pro quo spills more beans than either would typically open up about in normal circumstances. Her recent two-week trip to Oklahoma was to visit her estranged half-sister … a trip that holds yet another twisty secret that she’s surprised at herself for disclosing. Clark is not shy about dishing out armchair psychology advice, much of it based on his own past mistakes. Cheaters, specifically the difference between adulterous men and women, is a topic close to both of these folks, and Clark rambles on.

Dakota Johnson (thriving in indies) is truly at her best when she has minimal dialogue, and much is demanded of her facial expressions and body language (this is a compliment). Sean Penn thrives in a role where he is doling out free advice, and keeping score based on personal details provided. These two actors are the reason this film works, however, it seems clear this movie fits neatly into a festival circuit, while likely having little mainstream appeal.

Opens in theaters on June 28, 2024

David Ferguson
Latest posts by David Ferguson (see all)