© Leonine Distribution GmbH

Daddio - Eine Nacht in New York (Daddio)
U.S.A. 2023

Opening 27 Jun 2024

Directed by: Christy Hall
Writing credits: Christy Hall
Principal actors: Dakota Johnson, Sean Penn, Marcos A. Gonzalez

Audiences are privy to a very unique ride when they climb into the Yellow Cab taxicab writer-director Christy Hall, in her feature film debut, arranged from John F. Kennedy airport into New York City. Traveling along, unbeknownst to both, the young woman (Dakota Johnson) is on her way home, and tired. The driver (Sean Penn) doublechecks the address—yes, 44th and 9th in Midtown Manhattan, then pulls away from the curb. Conversation eases forward: …she’s his “last fare of the night,” and … “fucking Apps ... credit cards … never get a fucking tip,” … ”salt to gods;” she’s returned from “the armpit of Oklahoma,” her “suitcase is full of salt,” and … “I don’t mind squatting.” In between, she texts someone. They pick up speed. A twenty-year veteran, the cabbie “is good at reading people” and, she quickly learns he is. By the time the “fender-bender” brings the traffic flow to a standstill, the flow of their conversation has turned into a game of sorts—she is ahead, then he is—requiring truthfulness. Next, the tough question. “You’re never going to see me again,” and it all comes tumbling out. Talking from the heart, their exchange is staggeringly transparent, reminiscently poignant, mesmerizing, sincere. Eventually, one calls the game. Most likely they will not see each other again, nevertheless it is doubtful either will soon forget the trip.

Dakota Johnson and Sean Penn’s performances are extraordinary, charismatic, visceral, and brilliantly nuanced with humor, mutual surprised appreciation, respect, pathos. Watch their faces—minute movements of the eyes and muscles controlling their mouths. Physical actions illustrate deeper feelings: furrowed foreheads, hands drumming the steering wheel to an inner rhythm, or fingers nimbly texting, grimaces, swiping, erasing, smiles, sending. Eyes wandering to the rainbow of colored nighttime lights, the rearview mirror, a compact, inside the neighboring car. Gestures so common people forget to look, to read the body language.

Production values are masterly with cinematographer Phedon Papamichael’s shifting perspectives from the front to the back seat and vice versa, Lisa Zeno Churgin’s seamless editing, Kristi Zea’s production design, and Dickon Hinchliffe’s music. Christy Hall’s prowess as a writer is well-known theatrically and to Netflix subscribers. This shift to cinema happened “very organically,” according to Hall, elucidating “we can really get up close and personal, and it invites an intimacy that any character-driven chamber piece, it’s like it’s the power of the piece…” By the time we arrive at 44th and 9th, clearly this remarkable journey is one well worth remembering. (Marinell Haegelin)

The theaters below show films in their original language; click on the links for showtimes and ticket information.
Interviews with the stars, general film articles, and reports on press conferences and film festivals.
Subscribe to the free KinoCritics monthly email newsletter here.