This is one of those Academy Award bait films. Inspirational and loaded with “moments” that Oscar voters will love. That’s not to say that Joaquin Phoenix doesn’t have the chops to play an alcoholic quadriplegic cartoonist. The real revelation is Jonah Hill as his gay sponsor. An uneven film that structurally doesn’t logically build to a cathartic conclusion. The director Gus Van Sant doesn’t know how to trust the memoir that was used as a basis for the movie to get to the essence. Jack White has a small pivotal role and Rooney Mara is wasted. Not a bad film but a huge disappointment.