From the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of "The Hours" comes a story that chronicles a dozen years in the lives of two best friends who couldn't be more different. From suburban Cleveland in the 60s, to New York City in the 80s, where they meet an older woman, the film charts a journey of trials, triumphs, loves and losses. Now the question is: can they navigate the unusual triangle they've created and hold their friendship together?Written by
from "Music for 18 Musicians"
Written by Steven Reich
Performed by Steven Reich
Courtesy of Nonesuch Records
By Arrangement with Warner Strategic Marketing See more »
Love Comes Full Circle
"Remember your very best friend in high school, the one who knew and kept all your secrets? Bobby and Jonathan, who shared that kind of friendship, meet again as adults in New York. Sparked by their relationship with free-spirited Clare, they forge a loving unit that redefines 'family'. Colin Farrell, Robin Wright Penn, Sissy Spacek and Dallas Roberts star in this lyrical film that's both a celebration of commitment and a music - and memory-driven portrait of America in the '70s and '80s. Adapted by Pulitzer Prize winner Michael Cunningham from his own novel, 'A Home at the End of the World' strikes close to home as an adventure as big as life itself: risky, surprising, sexually charged and real," according to sleeve scribers...
That description, while not entirely inaccurate, hints at how "A Home at the End of the World" fails to achieve its full potential. The film isn't altogether a "memory-driven portrait" of family and music over the decades covered; indeed, it is a portrait of an unconventional family unit, but that should have remained secondary. At heart, this is a love (the kind including a sexual attraction) story between the Bobby and Jonathan characters, possibly deemphasized to make it more palatable. The focus unravels, especially after Mr. Farrell's adult Bobby take over the action. The film draws its fault line by losing touch with the central relationship, and Farrell's characterization goes off course. Freed-from-the-wig Colin Farrell and Dallas Roberts could have recorded a hit version of "Look Out, Cleveland" with The Band backing...
The casting is excellent, with Erik Smith and Harris Allan especially winning as the teenage Bobby and Jonathan; they blend perfectly with the grown-up Farrell and Mr. Roberts. Note that criticisms of Farrell in the lead role are of characterization, not acting. Smith's Bobby was played as a self-assured and sexual adventurous young man, but Farrell's Bobby is suddenly an asexual puppy dog; something is missing. We begin with an uncommonly artistic story, from Mr. Cunningham's novel. Cunningham worked on the film; a double edged sword, for it reveals not only tantalizing bits of his artistic vision, but also invites criticism regarding its execution. The fine original story is still evident on film, and some cinematic moments give the material emotional strength...
A highlight occurs when Smith and Allan become "brothers" by exchanging jackets; most importantly, the jacket worn by Bobby belonged to his brother, and he symbolically replaces Carlton (a sexually-charged Ryan Donowho) with Jonathan. This is a circular story. Note we begin with "Bobby" walking in on his brother having sex with a young woman (on top); this scene is recalled when he walks in on his replacement brother, again with a woman (on top). In both instances, Bobby winds up in bed with brother. There is no evidence of incest, but the opening brother/brother relationship appears extremely intimate, as does the later relationship between Bobby and replacement "mother" Alice (an easily potted Sissy Spacek). This story is about replacing lost love. We end with a full circle...
******* A Home at the End of the World (6/9/04) Michael Mayer ~ Colin Farrell, Dallas Roberts, Robin Wright, Sissy Spacek
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