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|Index||135 reviews in total|
What a stunning surprise! A family saga without familiar places or I should say that there are all familiar places but they feel completely new. I'm not one who likes to give away plot points so I won't I just want to say that I loved the loving involved in the unfolding of this realistic fairy tale. Personally, I've been questioning the apparent success of Colin Farrell. In very short years he worked with everybody from Stone to Spielberg, co starred with Pacino, Cruise and Willis but other than a winning pout and a clear willingness to take risks, his appeal eluded me - until last night that is. "A Home At The End Of The World" made me fall in love with him, with his power with his utter fearlessness. He creates a character with his heart in his sleeve and an innocence that it's compelling, aggressively on your face. Sweet and tough, wise and naive. Robin Wright Penn is also a standout. Her truth, unusual as it is, is unmistakable. Sissi Spaceck's suburban mom is an extraordinary creation. Subversive without meaning to, lovingly subversive, that's what she is. The opening with a startling Ryan Donowho grabs you by your heart and your throat and doesn't let you go. Wondering why this film didn't become an instant classic I arrived to the uncomfortable conclusion that it has to do with the casting of Colin's life long friend, Dallas Roberts, a good actor but not charismatic enough to give us a compelling pairing. I agree that he should be awkward and different but there is an element of petulance and physicality who didn't allow me to care for him as much as I wanted, as much as I needed. Sorry I had to mention that. But the experience that this little big film provides is unforgettable and the revelation of Colin Farrell mystique as an actor is nothing short of breathtaking.
Michael's Cunningham's book is so moving I was afraid to be deeply disappointed by the movie adaptation. Although 90 min is barely enough to narrate the story in its emotional complexity, the movie is very faithful to the book, probably because the screenplay is from Cunningham himself. The acting is excellent, and the soundtrack featuring Laura Nyro is beautiful, and if some of the book's interest is lost in translation, it still makes a pretty good movie. I find some detractors' arguments pretty amazing, as if all they'd watched was the trailer. To suggest that after Jules & Jim any movie containing a threesome is worthless, that any movie taking place in the 70s-80s is obsolete, that there was too much or not enough sex scenes, or that the AIDS theme is not developed enough, is plain ludicrous. This is not a movie about an era, about homosexuality, or about the AIDS epidemics. This is about (re)creating a place out of time and geography, where the world makes sense (again). A home, in other words. This is about loving another being (or two, since one is never complete, never enough) irrespective of family links, gender, and the established social codes. The characters are struggling to escape the rules to enjoy the "big noisy world around" and find a natural place in it. They are the opposite of stereotypical characters, at least once they are fully revealed to themselves. As for the end, it is not "unconclusive", it is what is called an open ending, and probably in this case the perfect ending, which means the only possible one. My advice: watch it, and read the novel too.
I was profoundly touched by the film, but I can see why people needing
a strong linear narrative might be left feeling incomplete.
The tagline doesn't quite capture the key to the film-- it's not precisely about redefining family-- I suspect the marketing folks thought that would resound with a likely target audience. (Like the Frameline GLBT Film Festival in SF.) To me it's about the need to belong-- to find a place in this world and then take that ride. The struggle is to find equilibrium with all the surprises that may come one's way.
Although the movie has its share of sadnesses, there are also quiet triumphs. In an odd way, this film touches some of the same chords as the far more eccentric "The World According To Garp" and "Cider House Rules."
To the director's and screenwriter's credit, they resisted the temptation to pack too much onto the film. I found the characterizations just specific enough. Fine performances from all. Beautifully established in youth.
The film trusts both your intelligence and intuition to carry you through the trip. Don't see this if you're hungering for car chases!
I just finished watching this film on cable, and it left me with a
tugging, wistful and urgent feeling regarding the complex and fragile
nature of what it means to be alive on this planet, faced with a myriad
of choices, which we make based upon what we ultimately believe to be
In this movie, the main character, Bobby (a magnificent performance by Colin Farrell), makes his choices based purely on need and love. From a very young age, his character is aware of certain truths about life and he's acutely in touch with his feelings. He trusts and follows these feelings, to the exclusion of everything else. This is not an ordinary character, and this is not an ordinary film.
Everything about A Home At The End of the World is off-center, in the best possible way - the characters do not fit into any stereotypical molds and there are no over-wrought emotional scenes, although the film is deeply emotional and profoundly intimate. Choices are made, consequences are dealt with, but nothing plays out in a trite, predictable way. Instead the story builds slowly, with intense subtlety, showing the changes Bobby and his childhood friend Jonathan experience in their conjoined lives. I recommend this movie to anyone who is willing to take this unforgettable journey along with them.
The movie wasn't the book, but the performances of all involved were
inspired. I admit to seeing the movie because Colin Farrell was in it
and not being sure, after the book, that he could become Bobby.
But he did, with a performance that astonished me.
What is unfortunate it that the movie, in some ways, has been limited in appeal by the "sexuality theme" that has become attached to it. Yes, Jonathan is gay. But labeling Bobby bi-sexual is reducing him to a caricature. Bobby's life was about love, needing and getting it from the people in his life. He found no limits in how to return it. Imagine, no inhibitions in showing love and affection! Any scene with Bobby in it just continued to show his tender and honest heart.
Then there were the rampant rumors of the "deleted scene". I totally understand why the scene was cut. It would have been unnecessary and gratuitous.
It is unfortunate this film wasn't released to a greater number of screens. Missing these performances would truly be a tragedy.
Clare loves Jonathan, who loves Bobby who..., well, loves everybody.
Bobby is either straight or homosexual or bisexual or asexual,
depending on where you are in the movie. A HOME AT THE END OF THE WORLD
is a relationship movie wherein everything hinges on the relationships,
but those relationships remain strangely ill-defined.
Achingly sincere, A HOME AT THE END OF THE WORLD strives for an easygoing reality, not fully appreciating that easygoing can also mean meandering. To its credit we are never sure where the film is going to take us, but to its detriment, the film doesn't seem to know either. The film relies on JULES AND JIM math -- one guy plus one guy divided by one girl equals melodrama -- as a way of exploring the changing social landscape of America from the laid back sex-drugs-and-rock'n'roll sixties to the early days of the AIDS epidemic. It covers a lot of ground, yet doesn't seem to really go anywhere.
The best part of the film is the beginning, before most of the main stars even make an appearance. Set in Cleveland, first in 1967 and then in 1974, the film has some gentle fun looking at suburban attempts at being mod and trendy, while romanticizing drug use and rock music. These are little Bobby Morrow's formative years, where one by one he tragically looses members of his family, leaving him an orphan by age 14. He befriends nerdy Jonathan Glover in high school and ultimately becomes part of the Glover family, whom he seduces with his genuine charm, gentle optimism and an apparently always ready supply of marijuana. It is also where Bobby and Jonathan begin exploring their sexuality. Even with it's discomforting approval of casual drug use, this is where the film is most successful, in the way it deals in an honest and intelligent way with blossoming sexuality and the awkwardness of being a gay teenager.
The film really deals with original ideas in these early stages, but that is just meant to be a foreshadowing of the main storyline, which, unfortunately tends to be rather trite and clichéd.
The bulk of the story takes place in 1984 and thereafter, as the adult Bobby (Colin Farrell) heads to New York to live with Jonathan (Dallas Roberts), who is now more or less openly gay. Jonathan is living with Clare (Robin Wright Penn), a gay guy's gal pal (i.e., fag hag) who is your standard New York City kook, complete with punkish magenta hair, crazy clothes and unconventional ideas that don't seem all that unconventional anymore. Clare loves Jonathan and wants to have his child, but she seduces and becomes pregnant by Bobby, who we suddenly are expected to believe isn't gay at all. The three continue to live together as something more than roommates, but something less than a marriage. And the film sorta-kinda explores the nature of this three-way union.
As a result we get three, or at least two intriguing characters who get lost in a story bereft of a dramatic point. And a perfectly good gay love story becomes an unconvincing a love triangle, where each member ends up playing odd-person-out at some point.
The most troublesome part of the story is that the character of Clare even exists. Clare's main function is to keep Jonathan and Bobby apart as lovers, even as her pregnancy is a gimmick designed to keep them together as family. And though the film is pro-gay on the surface, there is the suggestion that Clare has somehow cured Bobby's homosexuality and the added insinuation that Clare and Jonathan could both find true love if only he didn't have that darn quirk of wanting to sleep with guys. This is a gay love story which wants to avoid being a gay love story. Also, Robin Wright Penn is just not an interesting enough actress to bring any pizzazz to the stereotypical role of a bohemian kook and offers little reason to see why both Bobby and Jonathan are devoted to her. The character itself is a nuisance. Clare exists as a beard, a plot contrivance designed to turn a gay love story into a straight love story.
The main character, however, is Bobby and Farrell does a fine job playing him as a repressed man-child. There is no trace of the bravado that has made up Farrell's on-screen and off-screen reputation, only a gentle sweetness. Unfortunately, this causes an inconsistency in character. As played at age 7 by Andrew Chalmers and at 14 by Erik Smith, Bobby is an open, articulate, engaging free spirit. When Farrell picks up the character at age 24, Bobby has suddenly become repressed, shy and child-like. Even realizing the various hardships that marked Bobby's early life, his sudden display of emotional retardation is jarringly illogical. And though Farrell is good, it is the excellent performance of Smith as the teenaged Bobby that really defines the character.
The best thing about HOME is Dallas Roberts. As the adult Jonathan, he makes the character seem typically gay, without seeming to be stereotypically gay. His Jonathan views Bobby with love and lust as a friend, and with resentment and distrust as an ersatz favored sibling. Roberts embodies the conflicted nature of Jonathan better than Michael Cunningham's screenplay would suggest possible. Also, Sissy Spacek has some fine moments as Jonathan's mother. She is particularly effective in a scene where Mrs. Glover has just discover Jonathan and Bobby in a compromising position. The ensuing scene finds her distraught, not because she realizes that Jonathan is gay, but that know she must accept as fact what she had already suspected. It is poignant moment.
Had A HOME AT THE END OF THE WORLD been made in 1967 or 1974 or even 1984, it might have had an impact. Now, so much of it is, if not cliché, at least ordinary: the supersensitive gay man in love with a straight man; the flower child/mother hen/earth mother with a penchant for gay men, the alternative family unit, the odds and ends bits of feminist dissatisfaction and even the climatic special guest appearance by AIDS. The story's one original element is the naive (yet controlling), gay (yet straight), passive (yet dominating), eager to please (yet vaguely self-centered) Bobby, but the film shies away from either exploring or challenging the character. Indeed, the filmmakers even made a point of editing out a shot of Farrell's full frontal nudity; likewise they edited out his sexuality which is the linchpin of all the relationships. They don't want to reveal too much of the character and in the end they reveal too little.
I'm not sure if I just saw the same movie as some of the other reviewers on here. I would include this film as one of the best of 2004 (so far) along with Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Garden State, Spartan, and Kill Bill Vol 2. Colin Farrell's character, Bobby Morrow is one of the most fascinating people I've seen in the movies for some time. I hope his performance (and this film) are given the recognition they deserve. The rest of the performances are excellent as well. The screenplay and the direction are also very good, too. The story isn't something that we haven't seen on film before, but the characters and the way the film unfolds isn't your standard fare. Don't listen to the detractors, see this film.
While the script may not be a perfect adaptation of the novel (note
that it was the author's first, and as such, may have been difficult to
make into a cohesive whole. Also, the importance of good editing should
not be overlooked).
In any case, the first part of the movie spends a bit too much time on exposition, or perhaps simply doesn't use the time well enough. We're fairly clubbed over the head with Bobby's near-worshipful identification with his older brother. The scenes with Sissy Spacek were far superior to the others, and brought out the best in the young actors playing the boys.
The film's most pleasing aspect was the wonderfully crafted relationships among the four adult characters, played by Farrell, Roberts, Wright Penn and Spacek. They were convincing, and drew the audience into the entire complex of the the interaction between the characters, even among those I've spoken to who identified more strongly with one of them. These scenes are crafted very well, and display the director's skill from live theatre. This part of the movie, I wanted to see more of. Yes, folks, Colin Farrell can indeed act; you'll find many different shadings in his performance, and a vulnerability you probably haven't seen before. Dallas Roberts, who was nominated for an Outer Drama Critics' Circle award for Best Actor for his outstanding performance in "Nocturne" in New York, and who recently finished a run of a two man play with none other than the renowned Sam Shepherd, does an extremely fine job. He maintains honesty and intensity, and isn't drawn into the easy trap of trying to play the whole weight of the drama at once. He keeps himself firmly in each moment. Robin Wright Penn turns in a delightful performance in a character whose range of outlook on life is wide and complex. Sissy Spacek is simply superb; aside from the tendency to like her in whatever she does, her character took only moments to become highly engaging. The scenic design and location choices were notably excellent.
This movie, which unfortunately has yet to receive wide distribution, is definitely worth seeing. Not only does it feature fine performances and direction in the latter part of the story, but it raises questions about what "family" really IS, and who gets to decide what that definition should be? That makes it a VERY timely film. Unless you've read the book, you probably can't tell what's going to happen at each stage, and you may find yourself with more questions than answers by the time the end credits roll. A piece of art that ASKS questions and doesn't claim to provide all the answers is to be valued and appreciated. It's also unusual for Hollywood to produce, given their corporately-driven tendency to release "neat and packaged" films. It allows far more room for the audience to make up their OWN minds, and thus displays more respect for them. In my opinion, it was this aspect of the script that enabled the producers to draw in three "name" stars, and give us a welcome introduction to the highly talented Dallas Roberts, whose performance takes no back seat to any of the others.
This film contains varied & perhaps unconventional relationships. For that reason, it has had a lot of screenings at Gay/Lesbian film festivals. Don't let that fool you into overlooking this film. Its appeal is in the humanity of the characters, not their sexual preferences.
I highly recommend the film. Be patient with the first portions; the older the characters get, the better the film gets.
My sons & I saw the very first 2:30PM show Friday the 23rd at the San
Francisco Lumiere theater. WE LOVED IT!! All the reviews are fairly
sound-- great awesome wonderful sweet emotional very very touching &
full of longing & love. Colin as Bobby was spectacularly adorable. This
role shows so well how versatile Colin is an an actor-- what a talented
genius he is and what a fully emotional person he's capable of being.
All the actors did an incredible job-- but in particular I was really impressed with the teens that played the young Bobby & Jonathan-- they were absolutely genuine in what these really complicated, mature roles.
Regardless of the necessary changes made from the book-- I was amazed at how so many moments were exactly as I'd pictured them when I read it.
Even though there's been a ton of reviews & the book to read-- there are some totally cute hysterical & goofy moments that knocked me out of my seat & completely surprised me.
And-- the one altered scene-- I'm thankful they changed it-- that scene without any irrelevant controversial distractions is an Oscar winner if I ever saw one-- completely beautiful & traumatic & sweet & loving. I don't want anything to stand in the way of the characters & what they care about there-- & if I'd been in a room of screaming fans I would have been annoyed for having anything interrupt those beautiful moments during the film-- though I wouldn't kick the deleted scene out of bed if it shows up on the DVD!
Saturday the 24th I saw it again. They're giving away Home books & CDs as raffle prizes, & though I wasn't lucky enough to win-- I was lucky to get a book anyway. One of the guys that won the CD/book set gave me his book because he already had one. It has the Home poster on the cover!
Everyone was filling out pink questionnaires for the film-- One of the guys collecting them said they had about 200 responses from the previous showings, & of those nearly everyone rated the film as excellent. Only 9 of that 200 rated it fair & only 2 poor (2 bastards!)
Colin's got some incredibly powerful moments in this film, and though I'm a fan of his anyway, I was happily blown away with how loving he is as Bobby. It's glorious to watch. I'm highly impressed with the whole film-- all the acting from everyone. It's a very emotional, poignant, & profound story.
"A Home at the End of the World" is a film well done. Sissy Spacek is well cast as the mother, Alice Glover. Dallas Roberts plays a convincing role as her son, Jonathan Glover. Colin Farrell plays Bobby Morrow as a young man, and he is truly the star of this unusual picture. His life as a child is portrayed by Erik Smith, and he too is convincing in his child actor performance. The rare relationship in this movie is unique in this film. The story is compelling even if it is a little difficult to meld into our society's attitudes. This film is a good topic to observe in view of the current legal changes in marriage concepts. The music is inspiring and the photography is well done. There is an expected ending that remains with one long after the show is over. It is now in DVD, and it is a good movie to see.
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