Daddio

June 27, 202470/1005 min
Starring
Dakota Johnson and Sean Penn
Written by
Christy Hall
Directed by
Christy Hall
Run Time
1h 41 min
Release Date
June 28th, 2024
Overall Score
Rating Summary

We all need someone to listen to us, which is why therapy has become so popular over the last few years. I think most of us have realized the importance of finding that person who can hear our problems and give us some direction on how to fix them. While a therapist is the ideal choice, as they are trained to give you advice, they are not the only option. Sometimes, someone at the right place and the right time can be all you need. That is what Daddio is about: two people meeting at the right moment, leaving an imprint that will last long after their encounter ends.

A girl (Dakota Johnson) has just returned home to New York City from a trip and gets ushered into a waiting cab. The driver of that cab is Clark (Sean Penn), and this is his last fare for the night. The conversation starts with basic questions like, “Do you live here?” and “Where are you coming from?” but these opening questions serve as a key to deeper ones. Things start to open up when Clark tells the girl that she looks like she can handle herself, and the small talk evolves into a longer, deeper conversation. In between the silent moments of their dialogue, the girl is having another conversation on her phone with a man who really wants to see her. This man is initially a mystery and seems to want only one thing, but through talking with Clark, his identity starts to unfold. It is through their conversation that the complexity of life becomes apparent, showing how every decision can ripple through our lives.

Written and directed by Christy Hall, Daddio is a two-hander that takes place entirely inside a cab. Although the location might be cramped, the world you enter is not, as we delve into the lives of the two characters, extending far beyond the setting. Hall offers a sharp view of human nature, with all its imperfections, as we watch two people confront the events that have led them to this cab ride together. The conversation never feels manufactured but instead has a natural feel, telling a story of the power of vulnerability and how we can find comfort in people we don’t know.

Daddio is an impressive debut feature; it is at times touching, funny, and quite moving. Everything relies on the performances of Johnson and Penn and the chemistry they share or lack. These performances elevate the film to its achieved level, with Johnson giving a subtle yet emotional performance, and Penn shining brighter than he has in years. Daddio isn’t a movie that will leave your mouth open, but it does give you something to think about, reminding us that meaningful conversations can be found anywhere and with anyone.

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