Old Views, Modern People: Our Review of ‘Daddio’ (2023)

Posted in Theatrical by - June 27, 2024
Old Views, Modern People: Our Review of ‘Daddio’ (2023)

A New York cabbie, Clark (Sean Penn), tells his passenger from JFK, Girlie (Dakota Johnson), that nothing surprises anymore. That may be true, but that shouldn’t stop them both from having an ephemeral yet supposedly meaningful conversation. That’s what happens in Christy Hall’s Daddio, a film about two characters, with the exception of a small scene with a taxi attendant (Marcos A. Gonzales). Most of the film takes place within Clark’s cab, with the exception of New York City B-roll shots. There are also shots of Girlie’s phone, as she receives multiple texts from her lover who has a wife. Clark gives his opinion about those kinds of relationships, but the conversation eventually steers from that conversational topic. Both, to a certain extent, talk about families and reveal secrets that they wouldn’t reveal to their closer circles.

Daddio, an imperfect film, shows divides between genders and generations, but it sticks its landing and bridges its gaps. The film belongs within the subgenre of ‘claustrophobic’ genres, where a film sticks two characters in mostly the same location. This subgenre, just like situations in real life when this happens, gives its characters, pardon the phrase, Guantanamo effect. Stick two characters in a place long enough and they’ll develop strong feelings, positive or negative, towards each other. For the most part, this film proves the theory right especially when Clark says things that are controversial. Most people may give a polite response but she calls out Clark’s ‘bullshit’ towards the stereotypical things he says. Girlie’s tone while swearing at him also makes for great collaborative character work from Christy Hall and Dakota Johnson.

Both Hall and Johnson see Girlie as a woman of her generation who is tough, dismissing old views but not old men. Despite what ‘magic’ happens during claustrophobic situations, there are, however, moments when Daddio almost doesn’t suspend disbelief. Conversations between cabbies and their passengers happen so rarely that it’s understandable for people not to believe this premise. Of course, I’m not negating the fact this may have happened to Hall, but my point still stands. The film’s pacing also has its fits and starts, and a film like this needs to excite or else. Even if it eventually gets interesting, even twenty minutes feels too long for their conversation to have real topics. The film also wavers with how to depict Girlie’s texts, either by showing the phone or through some intertitles.

It takes an experienced director to properly depict modern communication and in Daddio, Hall isn’t always there to visually innovate. Another thing about this film that I’m mixed on is that it gives more details on Girlie than on Clark. Nonetheless, the details on Girlie’s life, as well as their situation, make me give this film a conditional pass. This film argues for giving people a chance even if they’re not perfect, which is an understandable argument. The guy that girlie is texting isn’t just some presumably older millennial who texts using short and dumb words. He’s also a good father and husband who, despite the adultery, cares about the people whom he knows. The same thing applies to Clark, who isn’t just someone who believes in tradition despite living in the big city. Clark is someone who deserves to hear Girlie’s story – most people are empathetic ears.

Watch Daddio in select Canadian theatres.

This post was written by
While Paolo Kagaoan is not taking long walks in shrubbed areas, he occasionally watches movies and write about them. His credentials are as follows: he has a double major in English and Art History. This means that, for example, he will gush at the art direction in the Amityville house and will want to live there, which is a terrible idea because that house has ghosts. Follow him @paolokagaoan on Instagram but not while you're working.
Comments are closed.
(function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,'script','//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js','ga'); ga('create', 'UA-61364310-1', 'auto'); ga('send', 'pageview');