Having heard much about Casey Affleck’s fauxumentary about Joaquin Phoenix’s transformation from actor to hip hop star, I felt I was prepared to finally see I’m Not Here with a firm attitude of “Yeah, Right.” I have to say the final product is at times hilarious, flat, annoying, brilliant, and insightful. But hands-down, my favorite part is when Edward James Olmos confers with our hapless hero to offer him some advice. The scene involves a cut where Joaquin ostensibly and silently offers up his latest rhyme as Olmos’ words flow over it.
That’s you, drops of water and you’re on top of the mountain of success. But one day you start sliding down the mountain and you think wait a minute; I’m a mountain top water drop. I don’t belong in this valley, this river, this low dark ocean with all these drops of water. Then one day it gets hot and you slowly evaporate into air, way up, higher than any mountain top, all the way to the heavens. Then you understand that it was at your lowest that you were closest to God. Life’s a journey that goes round and round and the end is closest to the beginning. So if it’s change you need, relish the journey.
Then he tells “JP” that when the spotlights are on him, the inner light can’t be seen; it can only be illuminated during the dark times.
I’m not sure, but I’d bet that was scripted. Like the whole faux thing, an exposition of fame crafted by Phoenix and Affleck. But damn, it’s good.