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A Home At The End Of The World

Earnest, Beautifullly Crafted Melodrama

About.com Rating 2.5 Star Rating

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Home At The End Of The World

Robin Wright Penn and Colin Farrell in "A Home At The End of the World."

Michael Mayer's first film, "A Home At The End of the World," adapted from Michael Cunningham's debut novel, begins beautifully. The opening scenes paint a rich picture of the sad, strange, and highly charged childhood of Bobby Morrow, a wide-eyed, nine year old (Andrew Chambers) who worships his free-loving hippie brother.
Bobby's character is formed by several life-changing events: an acid trip in a neighborhood graveyard, numerous untimely deaths in his family, and the strong friendship he makes with another teenage misfit, and later, his friend's family. The first third of "A Home At The End Of The World" is simply wonderful.

Teenage Bobby (Erik Smith, who looks remarkably stuck in time with his older brother's haircut) wants to love and be loved. He makes an instant friendship by asking a stranger (Harris Allan) if he wants to get high, and the boys go from sneaking joints in Jonathan's bedroom to sleepovers, where they wordlessly jerk each other off before falling asleep.

In these early scenes, every single detail is right: the terrible clothing of the late seventies, the interiors of a suburban Cleveland home, the awkwardness of youth, and the wonderful performance of Sissy Spacek as a suburban housewife. It is worth the price of admission to watch her get high with her closed-off son and Bobby, holding hands and dancing to a Laura Nyro record. If I had my wish, I'd freeze frame the film there, ending with Bobby's confused adolescence in Cleveland, snug and happy with another person's family.

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