I'm Going Home (2001) Poster

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Autobiography of an Ancient Director
Marnielover29 March 2004
This film by 92-year-old Portuguese film director Manoel De Oliveira is an 86-minute close observation of an elderly actor who seems to be mainly a stage actor. The film opens with a 15-minute scene from Ionesco's "Le roi meurt," in which the actor (Michel Piccoli) goes through the never-say-die speech of the 280-year-old king. After the performance, he is greeted backstage with the news that his wife, daughter, and son-in-law have been killed in a car accident. The rest of the film follows him in his everyday routines, into another performance (this time in Shakespeare's "The Tempest"), and then on to a film of James Joyce's "Ulysses." In between we watch him buy shoes, quarrel with his agent, play with his orphaned grandson, and drink espresso at his favorite cafe.

De Oliveira has a habit of filming performances at odd levels. For example, in "Le roi meurt," Piccoli has his back to the camera the entire time. During a quarrel with his agent, only Piccoli's feet in his new shoes are shown. He bashes the heels against the pavement when he's mad, rocks them back and forth when he's pleased--it's all there. When he is playing Buck Mulligan in "Ulysses" we only hear his performance, and gauge it by the reactions on the face of the film director (John Malkovich). The lengths De Oliveira goes to to confound his actors' egos and the audience's expectations are inventive and a bit peculiar.

I sensed that this film was more about De Oliveira than about the characters in the story. There isn't much dialog and not much character development. The theme of the king who will not die, who is egomaniacal beyond reason, perhaps is De Oliveira talking to himself. He makes movies into his 90s because it is his habit. He should be dead by now, but he's not, and because of that he has watched everyone he loves die before him. The possibility of trying to start a new life with a young starlet that is offered to Piccoli must also have happened to De Oliveira. He won't make himself ridiculous that way. "I'm not Casals," the actor says when told of the musician's marriage at the age of 82 to a teenager. I can hear our director saying that, too.

What he wants to do is stop working, rest, and mourn his losses. This is, I feel, a personal film and all the more moving for it.
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10/10
After losing wife, daughter and son-in-law in a car accident, an old actor tries to overcome his grief bringing his grandson to live with him.
jairo16 September 2002
It´s amazing how Manoel de Oliveira, who's 93 years old, accomplishes so much in this film using so little. The story is quite simple and there´s nothing very unusual about the characters. But the film captures the audience´s attention in a remarkable way. We get to know so much about the characters that sometimes we feel that we´re reading a book, when the author has pages and pages to tell everything about them. Michel Picoli plays a successful stage actor who, after losing wife, daughter and son-in-law in a car accident, learns to overcome his grief bringing his young grandson to live with him. Manuel de Oliveira doesn't use exciting camera angles nor spectacular takes. Everything is quite simple in his film. It's the simplicity of a master, who knows perfectly well what's he's doing. Acting is superlative. Picoli's work is on the level of the best performances of Ingmar Bergman's actors. And, of course, there's John Malkovich, with very few lines but an enormous intensity, in the role of an American film director who's shooting a movie version of James Joyce's "Ulysses". This is one of the most intelligent, delicate and touching films I've seen in many years.
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10/10
Vermeer, not Rubens
Red-12528 September 2002
I'm Going Home [Je rentre à la maison (2001)] is a

masterpiece from Manoel de Oliveira. This film is quiet,

fascinating, and truly memorable. de Oliveira has chosen

the aging, brilliant French actor Michel Piccoli to portray an

aging, brilliant French actor. The combination of skilled

director and skilled actor results in an almost perfect film.

The plot is basic and could be summarized in a paragraph.

What makes this movie a masterpiece is the manner in which

de Oliveira sets up each scene so that it is an organic

entity--linked to the scenes before and after it, but nonetheless

able to stand on its own. Each scene is, in fact, a small

masterpiece.

As an example, Piccoli's character is seated in front of the

mirror, while a makeup artist carefully, skillfully, and

professionally adds makeup. The scene is shot as if

through the mirror, so Piccoli and the makeup person are

looking at us to check the results. A man stands quietly in

the background. At first we don't understand why he is there.

Then, the makeup artists pauses, and the man begins to

place a wig on Piccoli's head. All three of these people are

portrayed as experienced, capable, and clearly expert at what

they do. They work quietly and efficiently in a manner

expected of people who have done this before, and will do it

again. The man steps back, the makeup person begins to

add a moustache, and, by the end of the scene, Piccoli's

appearance is transformed. A gem!

Think of this movie as if you were at an exhibition of Vermeer

paintings. You move from painting to painting. Most of the

works are small, often just one or two persons are portrayed,

and the lighting and composition are perfect. Each painting

is a masterpiece, and together they create a brilliant exhibition.

This is "I'm Going Home."

If you want bright colors, action, large expanses of flesh,

multiple characters, and constant movement, find an

exhibition of paintings by Rubens. Perhaps equally enjoyable,

but not Vermeer, and not de Oliveira.
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10/10
a funny, warm gem of a film.
Creep Thunder15 November 2001
I like to think of myself as a movie buff, but I'm not. I am a novice, in training. I had never heard of Portuguese director Manoel de Oliveira but it turns out he is 93 years old, still active and has therefore been making films for most of the era of "talkie" cinema. So, "I'm Going Home". This is a film I would never have dreamed of going to see. I ended up at the cinema by default without realising that it would change my view on a lot of things and make me feel better without realising that I felt down.

I had no idea or preconceptions of what this would be like. The only person I was familiar with was John Malkovich (sp?) I'll get back to him later.

The film starts off with a play, and it's a play I would love to see. The audience (in the film) watching the play are enjoying it immensely and it is obvious that Gilbert Valence (the wonderful wonderful Michel Piccoli)is a well known stage actor, much loved by his French audience. Valence comes off stage to huge applause but then receives the worst kind of life-changing news.

Cuts to "some time later" We hear no dialogue from him until we see him in his next play. This is clever- unless he is on the stage, we only see him from an outsider's point of view. He is in a bar and we can see him talking and ordering but all we can hear is the white noise of Parisian traffic. And then vice-versa so for a while, he is always on the other side of the window to us.

He meets his agent who is a partonising, unsympathetic character. Valence doesn't understand why he keeps offering him roles he would never take. Valence feels out of sorts with society. His world has been reduced and he is surrounded by people he doesn't understand and whom in turn, don't understand him.

Enter John Malkovich. He is John Crawford a director of a Franco/American production company who desperately needs Valence to be in his new version of Ulysses (James Joyce you idiot!) (no, I've never read it either). His opening speech to Valence is a text book example of tactlessness and I wonder if M. de Oliveria has often found himself on the receivng end of the same, ageist treatment

My favourite scene is when Valence is trying his absolute hardest to get the part right. Malkovich is trying to keep his cool but is obviously getting infuriated with this poor frenchman who is trying to read an English-speaking part in an Irish accent (which he has three days to prepare for). The scene consists of a close-up of Malkovich's face as he winces and squirms, looks hopeful then despairs again, whilst we listen to the sound of Valence doing his best in a part that he wasn't born to play.

The film is full of so much apart from the story line and gives much food for thought on leaving the cinema. Is he really so out of sorts with the world? How can he be, when his grandson adores him completely and young girls find him very attractive (a fact that he finds hard to deal with)? Surely it is the bad side of modern society that he can't cope with in the same way the rest of us can barely cope either?

There are also shots in this picture that would make Martin Scorsese drool. I won't bother describing any because that never works, but if I noticed them, they must be good!

I probably make it sound like a melancholy old-duffer movie but it isn't. The dialogue is sharp and often very-funny, there are nice little sub-plots and elegant touches such as people drinking in sync with each other except for Valence. Subtle stuff that you have to watch out for.

I won't give the (abrupt, but for a reason) ending away but the way the title is used- it's something we can all relate to and wish we done ourselves!
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9/10
A moving and subtle masterpiece
wjfickling12 September 2002
Anyone who thinks this movie is boring is a horse's ass who should stick to car chase movies. This is a brilliant, moving, and subtle film that is all the more poignant because, it's director being a nonagenarian, it could well be his swan song, and that of its 76 year old principal as well. De Oliveira, like his lead character, will not compromise his principles by dumbing down his material. Much of the film is silent, i.e., with no dialogue precisely because it is a film, a visual medium, not a play. The done is set by De Oliveira's daring opening, which consists of its actor-character enacting the finale of an Ionesco play, which goes on for over 15 minutes. A daring move that pays off because, perhaps predictably, what happens in the play is a predictor of what is to come. The film is not unlike King Lear, in that it stresses the sadness of seeing one who once had greatness, and who still has flashes of it, in decline and perhaps at the end of his powers. It is a sublime meditation on the inevitability of death and the foolishness of fighting it. A minor masterpiece.

Rating: 9/10
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8/10
"Je rentre a la maison" is an elegant exploration of aging and personal loss directed by 93-year-old Manoel de Oliveira.
claytonlowe28 September 2001
"Je rentre a la maison" opens on the stage of a rather seedy theatre in Paris during the closing act of Ionesco's absurdist drama "Exit the King" - exit the king indeed!

Portraying the old king is Gilbert Valence (Michel Piccoli), a well known Parisian actor, who like the king is coming to the end of his career. Piccoli no sooner steps off stage than a group of somber friends deliver to him the bad news that his wife, daughter, and son-in-law have just been killed in an auto accident. All that now remains of his family is his young grandson.

In this remarkably understated film Oliveira uses long takes, a rarely moving camera, and natural background sounds to emphasize what's going on in the faces of his actors. After a summer of films like "Fast and Furious," "Rat Race," and "Rush Hour 2" it is a relief to be able to slow down and indulge in the more subtle nuances of the filmic art.

One of the movie's most treasured moments occurs when Piccoli is cast in an English-language film based on James Joyce's novel, "Ulysses." Appearing in a cameo role as the director of this movie-within-a-movie is John Malkovich who takes full advantage of Oliveira's long take close-ups of him as he sadly watches Piccoli having difficulties with his lines. The last shot in the film is also a long take of the face of Piccoli's grandson as he watches his grandfather pause on the landing while making his way up the stairs to his room.

"Je rentre a la maison" is a low-key version of Scott Hicks' more thickly romantic, "Hearts in Atlantis," which has a similar theme.
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9/10
This man proves his 93 years of experience.
jonathanclancy21 June 2001
Touching is the first word that comes to mind. de Oliveira goes to Cannes every year and delivers the best movie and doesn't get any prize. He's 93 and he still puts out more than a movie a year and what movies I must say. Stunning beauty and poetry come out of this work. This movie sees an amazing performance by Michel Piccoli; he goes right in deep into his character. Merci Beaucoup Mr De Oliveira!
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10/10
The most beautiful movie I have ever seen
danka16 February 2003
Warning: Spoilers
it might be a spoiler I walked out of the cinema and I felt joy, overwhelming feeling of happiness. The movie has (had on me) such a positive impact. So I'm walking completely bemused rewinding the movie in my head. And I realize it is a sad, sad story. So sad.But I don't feel sad, I still feel peacefully calm. And I wonder: how does one make such a sad story, not getting remotely near pathetic and by far surpassing sad, making it.positive? I'm still rewinding the film trying my best to remember every scene, because each one is amazing, but I can feel my forgetfulness creeping up on me. I only had that one chance to see it, on this movie festival. I never got to cinemas, I wasn't expecting it to. Thus it will never get to video-clubs or video-stores (in my country, anyway).

The movie is about life. As simple as that. All the little things we do, so trivial, yet so true. Like the habits we hold on to, or admiring the new shoes you just bought. That is the most beautiful scene for me. He meets his agent for a drink. They are sitting in a café, talking, chatting. But all throughout the conversation the camera is set a level lower. Not above the table, on their faces, but below the table, on their legs. Because he just bought a pair of new shoes. And his legs can't keep still. He is looking at them from this angle, admiring from that one. We all do that. For that brief period while something is new our eyes just keep glancing at it. We all do that, but we just don't pay attention. This is just a fragment of what you will find in this magnificent movie. It is a work of art. If you ever get a chance to see it, don't miss it.

Unless, of course, you like all the same Hollywood movies that have a world saving plot, but are ever so completely empty, in which case this movie is far beyond your comprehension and you will find it meaningless, plotless, boring and painfully slow.
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7/10
Let's get real, people.
=G=24 October 2003
"I'm Going Home" - a heady subtitled French character study and contemplation which focuses on a bereaved and aging thespian, Valence (Piccoli) - consumes huge chunks of time as we watch the protag perform on stage, buy shoes, get mugged, get made up for a movie, flub his lines, etc. Deneuve and Malkovich are on screen for a heartbeat and the whole messy death of his family thing is skipped over in deference to the lengthy scenes. I was surprised when the film abruptly ended with no climax, no denouement, and no warning...just poof, credits rolling. The bottom line here is this is not much of a movie by the standards of ordinary filmgoers. However, it is fodder for cinematic devotees, critics and industry people, pedants and dilettantes, etc. If you care about such trivia as the director was 90+ years of age, then you may want to give this film a look. If you just want entertainment, think twice. (B)

Note: Being surprised when the film ended is a good thing. That meant I was sufficiently engrossed as to not be watching the clock. For what it's worth and it's not much, I enjoyed this film a lot.
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5/10
A beautiful subject, beautifully delivered, but not for a feature film
phranger26 January 2002
This is a superbly played, superbly framed film about a very interesting idea. It is simply three times too long. The film follows an aging actor, Gilbert Valence (Michel Piccoli), from the moment he learns his wife, their only child and her husband died in a car accident, to the moment he suddenly turns old.

Valence, who is either shown or heard in every scene, has very few words to say except when playing, first in Ionesco's Le Roi se meurt, then in the Tempest (both in French) and last while shooting a film in English, Joyce's Ulysses. That last role ends with the title words, I'm going back home, when Valence simply walks out rather than deal with his failure to master Joyce's words while keeping the wanted character and pacing.

The remaining minutes show him walking in a Paris suburb, from the studio to his home, while mumbling his role in English. This gives us the time to realize that all the while, since his wife's death, he's been sticking close to home, going through the well-known daily habits of his life, and equally well-known roles. Only the short appearance in Ulysses would have taken him into new territory. Turning old is choosing not to go outside the life one knows. In Valence's case, it's rather not going outside of what is left of his life, once the most important people in it have been killed.

The only other major speaking role belongs to Valence's agent, Georges (Antoine Chappey). Unfortunately, it is marred by an absence of those concrete details that convince the viewer that this is not sketch for a character, but a living human being. One scene, for instance, has Valence refuse a TV role which Georges is pushing because of the money involved, but Georges only gets to call it "lots", without giving even an approximation.

That deficiency in realistic detail mars other aspects of the film too. However, John Malkovich, playing the American film director, breaks through, he is quite convincing. My suspicion is that he wrote his own lines.

Even if the deficiency were fixed, though, Oliveira would still only have material for thirty minutes. His own failure is in not facing up to that. But Piccoli's playing is sublime, and the wordless showing of Valence's implicit choices through well-framed moments, is also a lesson in filming.
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8/10
Incomparable
B246 July 2005
If I were to attempt a comparison, I'd think of Mexico's interesting film "Japón." But comparisons are tricky, since they can never capture more than bits and pieces -- and that includes remakes as well.

The languor of this film is consistent with its subject and its theme. Likewise the cinematic device of reflection, full of suggestion without actually insulting the viewer's intelligence by having to show every scene or expression straight on. Perhaps only an old person can appreciate it fully, sensing how solitude gradually creeping into one's life as one ages tends to alter perceptions even of the most common sort. Everything slows down with age. Self-image lingers longest, and to attempt rejuvenation proves futile in the end. At last there is resignation, and maybe a kind of peace.

Given all this, I find no fault with anything except possibly the lack of effective close-ups or more incisive dialogue in the film. Even John Malkovich deserves a chance to prove he is uncharacteristically not just part of a dramatic frieze.
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7/10
I'M GOING HOME (Manoel De Oliveira, 2001) ***
Bunuel197620 November 2008
This is another low-key yet compelling latter-day offering from the indefatigable Portuguese film-maker; given that it deals with a famous but ageing actor (Michel Piccoli once again) who decides to give up his boots, it was probably meant as such by Oliveira himself – though he's still going strong seven years later, having not only made some half-a-dozen other films in the interim but, at nearly 100, has two more productions already lined up for 2009!

The plot starts off with Piccoli and his theater troupe (including a nice cameo by Catherine Deneuve) performing a Eugene Ionesco play about a mad king (with Piccoli being very funny at playing a doddering and dreamy fool), while later on they also put on Shakespeare's "The Tempest". Soon after the initial performance, however, Piccoli learns that his wife, daughter and son-in-law have all been killed in a traffic accident; this is a wonderfully directed sequence as the people who have come to inform Piccoli of the tragic events are forced to wait for the play to finish before intervening and, consequently, are seen pacing nervously backstage as the actors' voices boom in the distance spouting droll lines concerning the impending death of Piccoli's own character. As a result of the accident, the elderly actor is left with a young grandson solely in his care; though the two can't afford to spend a lot of time together – due to the nature of Piccoli's work and the boy's own schooling – they display genuine affection for each other.

The repetition of certain scenes – Piccoli watching the child leaving for school or going to a café (this, then, becomes a nice running gag involving another habitual client who likes to sit at the very same table as the protagonist) – may be a nod to Luis Bunuel's THE EXTERMINATING ANGEL (1962), meant as a reflection on the way one's life tends to become a series of routine chores. Having mentioned the Spanish surrealist master, as in Oliveira's later direct homage to him – BELLE TOUJOURS (2006), which I've just watched – the film has several bits showing Piccoli just walking around town; these don't merely serve to give us scenic views of the city, but also to crystallize Piccoli's bemused character: however, we're not spared the ugliness either, illustrated by the incident where one night he's held-up by a junkie and deprived of his beloved newly-purchased yellow shoes (which, in the preceding sequence, ostensibly depicting a conversation between Piccoli and his over-eager agent, had themselves amusingly been the 'protagonists')!

The second half of the picture involves the flow of TV and movie work which Piccoli's agent tries to set up for him: they immediately clash over an action-packed TV series (where the actor's asked to play a dupe for a much younger woman!), but does accept the proposal of a renowned American film director (John Malkovich, another past alumnus of Oliveria's) to take a small role in a new rendition of James Joyce's "Ulysses" – for the record, I own Joseph Strick's 1967 film adaptation myself but have yet to check it out. Still, their collaboration (Malkovich had initially felt privileged in obtaining the services of such a distinguished actor) isn't a felicitous one: Piccoli has difficulty in both remembering and fluently delivering the heavy-going English prose, while Malkovich proves an exacting director – insisting on a rigorous fidelity to Joyce's text. Tired of the whole set-up, Piccoli quits with the soft-spoken yet unequivocal interjection of "Je rentre a' la maison" (I'm going home), and staggers out onto the streets of Paris still 'in character' and period costume (baffling passers-by and the patrons at a pub no end); when Piccoli arrives at the house, he even ignores the grandson's presence in the yard and goes straight up to his room. Had this been Oliveira's last film, it would have been a wonderful tribute to the actor's profession and an insightful reflection on old age and approaching death but, as I said before, the ceaseless Portuguese director still had (indeed has) other aces up his sleeve…
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7/10
The poetry of details
valadas23 June 2006
Manuel de Oliveira is the film director of the details. The camera is always very slow with him and much concentrated on visual details, immobile images and dialogues. Each one of these however, has its meaning sometimes poetic and contributes to introduce the spectator deeply into the atmosphere of the story. Remember for instance the scene when the old actor, after having bought and put on a pair of new yellow shoes that he liked very much, is talking to someone else at a café and while the dialogue goes on we almost never see his face since the camera focuses his feet all the time and the movements he makes with his shoes like an element of his personality. This is the story of an old actor at the end of his career still trying to work after the violent death of his wife, daughter and son-in-law in a road accident that left him in charge of his little grandson. Michel Piccoli does a great job in the role of the aging actor and we can feel all along the movie the feelings that take place in his mind on the one hand in his difficult relationship with his agent about what the latter tries to demand from him and on the other hand in his tender relationship with his grandson at home though they don't see much of each other due to to their divergent hours. A movie really worth to be seen.
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6/10
I Go Home
richard-mason11 October 2002
I know de Oliveira is one of the Old Masters, and I know being an artist at the end of your creative life is the whole point of the picture, but really, it tries the patience.

Individual scenes work well, and the little touches of humour are as welcome as spots of rain in a drought, but those interminably held shots, in those interminable scenes, were just too much.

I wanted to like it. I really did. And at times, I did. Michel Piccoli was superb as the film-maker's alter ego. But, maybe, just maybe, someone should have said to Manuel: "You're in your nineties, you've got nothing left to prove. Just go home and have a rest."
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8/10
Interesting film
mihaiatanasie-8693414 April 2017
One may be surprised by the first scene of this film. One expects something else but finding oneself in a theater for a Eugene Ionesco play. I dare say that these excerpts of well-known plays are a good hint for the main character's life, an old actor who lives mainly for his art, more on stage than at home (the loss of his family makes him leave in a hurry, but he never cries for that). As a Ionesco fan, I salute the choice of "Le roi se meurt". As a Picoli fan I am surprised a bit by his look, but, well, I was young once, log time ago, and so was he. Anything goes to an end on earth and an actor's career can't last forever. Still, the end is quite surprising, honestly, I thought Valance could resume his work the next day. All in all, I liked the film and I am glad I could see it.
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7/10
Proves realism can be a impediment
Luuk-227 January 2002
Although I quite enjoyed this movie and was pleasantly impressed by Michel Piccoli's quality acting, it was ultimately a bit of a disappointment and raises several questions. If the film wants to sing the praise of a great actor, it succeeds but at the same time it doesn't tell us anything we didn't know yet. If it tries to celebrate the theatre and acting at a less personal level, there are better ways of doing it. For one, concentrating on one actor, however good he may be, send the wrong signals to the audience. Second, using overly generous extracts from plays like The Tempest are only mildly interesting if you know you will not see the end of them. Moreover, although the tragedies that afflict Gilbert Valence in this film are real enough, they are depicted in such a realistic way that they fail to carry any ulterior message, in fact, any sense of real tragedy! What a pity.
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4/10
Dull, boring & unintelligible. NOW I need 10 lines to say Why.
jaybob4 October 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Manolo de Olveira who is 92 years young & still active in film,is to be commended for making this movie.

This is really an art house film for those who know all about a film before they see it. The movie is 86 minutes long,It would have been a much clearer, more concise 60 minute Television exercise.

The camera stands still with nothing happening for about a minute in many scenes.

The last scenes with John Malkovich are in English, with no captioning, he speaks so low you cannot understand one word that he says.

The audience is supposed to know before hand that the opening scenes are from an Obscure play by Ionesco & the scenes with Malkovich, the film being made is Ulysses. If you do not know from Ionesco you will not appreciate the beginning at all. I never understood Ulysses period. This is James Joyce's not Homer's.

Michel Picoli a noted actor does a good job as the lead.

Catherine Deneuve has a small role, since there were hardly any close ups I did not recognize who she was.

I do like art-house type film but want to be able to understand them.

I think I have more than 10 lines,

Ratings: ** )out of 4) 52 points (out of 100) IMDb 4 (out of 10)
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2/10
Is There A More Boring Film in Life?
yespat17 March 2007
Warning: Spoilers
An old man, aging actor has personal losses early in the film. We don't really feel his pain as we are not introduced to them prior.

This is how the film goes. The man walks around, has coffee, meets with his agent, briefly interacts with his grandson, reads the paper, buys some shoes, gets mugged, walks around some more. Oh, and he is rigid, not wanting to meet anyone new, not wanting to expand his professional horizons, argues with people who attempt to pull him out of his rut. He has difficulty even in his profession and leaves a job without notice and goes to bed. That's it. That's the film.

Now if that seems enjoyable, go for it. Boring, Boring.
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3/10
this film is definitely missing something
MartinHafer26 November 2005
While parts of the film are quite interesting, there are so many problems with it that I would hesitate to recommend it to anyone. First, there are many prolonged scenes from plays in the beginning of the film that don't seem to help the picture along. It was as if they had the footage and used it as padding. A few shorter shots would have clearly sufficed to explain to the audience that the leading man was a respected leading man on the French stage. Second, the camera work was awfully strange. Some might find it artsy, while others might be annoyed by the seemingly amateurish style. For example, many times the camera was static and the characters walked in and out of the shot. I assume it was to give the movie the style of a play, but to me it just looked like they left the camera on and left it. Third, the movie did not appear to have an ending or much of a buildup to it. It just ended very abruptly. Fourth, and finally, the relationship with the man and his grandson seemed poorly developed and could have used more screen time.

Overall, the film needed to be hashed out more and seemed greatly in need of editing and revisions.
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1/10
Boring to death
Dhomochevsky1 November 2003
When i am asked about the worst film i ever watched, "je rentre à la maison" comes flawlessly to my mind as first answer. De Oliveira is old, and you can feel it from the beginning to the end of his story. It starts with a play from Ionesco, "Le Roi se meurt" ("The king is dying" Must we laugh?). Weird introduction, but why not? After this play went for 5 minutes, you seriously hope it stops soon... But you are wrong! On and on for 20 minutes the play goes, uninterrupted! I remember i almost crashed my seat. Fortunately i was alone (it always feels so ,when the couple of people with you are sound asleep). And i am very proud to swear you i held on until the end! I tried to focus on Michel Piccoli's performance, which is good, but let me tell you that was painful!

Shortly, don't watch this movie, except if you are willing to experience machistic boredom.
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1/10
Being an auteur doesent suit Malkovitch.
fredjohnjohn21 June 2002
Tedium taken to a level too boring to describe. Scenes go on and on ...... The actors look very uneasy at least I think they do as most of the time the light is very bad or the Director has set afocus on something removed from the characters.John Malkovitch is wasted and Piccoli seems bemused by the lack of any coherent storyline.An experience for insomniacs only.
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1/10
I hated this boring waste of celluloid
mrmjoh26 May 2003
This film is really awful, in my opinion. It tries to be profound, moving, humanist and everything, but the only image actually communicated through it is one of a boring old (Oliveira obviously being in his nineties) classicist, snobbishly holding his nose at all the puerile excesses of mainstream, popular entertainment cinema; or, for that part, the more bewitched strains of art cinema. It makes me real mad: this passes itself of as Art, but is really nothing more than REACTION, imposing the sanctity of Time and the (male) Body, the Home and the Family. Why we even go to the movies, the sheer fun and fascination of cinema, the possession of the screen, the delirium of the moving image, is passed of as something for all those mindless, illiterate adolescents, out of touch (thankfully) with the eternal laws of the Masterpiece, the bourgeois privations around art that we´d better do without. Shame really, with the waste of talent going on here: Michel Piccoli is, arguably, one of the greatest french actors of all time, and it´s not that he´s bad here, he just doesn´t have anything to work with. On this point, check out Marco Ferreri´s La Grande Bouffe, one of the most deliriously unpleasant films ever, and with the equally great Philippe Noiret; or Claude Faraldo´s Themroc, where Piccoli coughs, grunts and laughs his way through the role of a modern day cave man and barbarian, a film without a hint of legible/audible dialogue. Rate: 0.5 out of 10000.
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Piccoli's 204th film is a total turkey
rowmorg1 April 2005
How could Piccoli blow it so big-time after appearing in more than 200 pictures? Did no one tell him that he would appear with his back to the camera for about 15 minutes in the first reel, performing with very bored-looking actors, including a completely wasted Catherine Deneuve who does not even get a close-up? It seems almost unimaginable that the stars of Belle De Jour (1964) bomb together in this utter dud all these decades later. How does a movie director of 93 years old dare to demonstrate that during a long life in the industry he has learnt next to nothing about building character and plot? I'm Going Home makes The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (in which Piccoli also starred) seem like Gone With The Wind by comparison. For example, the joke about the Figaro=reader who fancies Piccoli's seat in the café is played, not once, not twice, but a third time. Did nobody in the production team have the heart to save the Great Man from his own feeble wit? For a few pretentious cinephiles this film might hold some archival interest, but the overwhelming majority of intelligent movie-buffs will be paralysed with boredom in the first two minutes. Low budget is no excuse: Sex, Lies & Videotape was made for far less than this picture cost. And as for age, all the director demonstrates is that he has learnt nothing about pleasing an audience.
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3/10
Great if you need a soporific!
DaTramp2 December 2004
Watching this film is like watching mud dry. Obviously I have a definite prejudice but its distinctly like "About Schmidt", another snorer in which absolutely nothing happens. I found it impossible to care about what happened with these characters other than to hope, as the film progressed, that they didn't linger in old age any longer than necessary. There were many extraneous scenes (the old actor walking, lingering on subsidiary characters in bars and coffee shops) as if these added in any way to advancing the plot or developing character. There appears to be an audience for films of this type but it is so far from important films about the challenges of advancing age like "Wild Strawberries", "Men With Guns" or "Ikiru", as to be a parody.
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