A Home At The End Of The World Movie Review

An initially touching story that wilts under its own insignificance, A Home at the End of the World is the second film to be adapted from a Michael Cunningham novel, following the footsteps of The Hours, a work that, for all its flaws, A Home can't even come close to. In an opening that veers wildly, and not unpleasantly, between adolescent melodrama and wildly unintended farce, we are given the suburban Cleveland childhood of two buddies, Bobby Morrow and Jonathan Glover. Bobby's eyes were opened to the world at age nine in the late 1960s, when his older brother Carlton introduced him to the joys of acid and hanging out in graveyards.

A few years later, after the deaths of both Carlton and his mother, Bobby is a puppy-eyed teenager who inherited Carlton's magnetic personality and utter lack of guile, which is what attracts another teen, the gawkier Jonathan, to him. After his dad dies, Bobby moves permanently into the Glover household as a sort of unofficial adopted brother to Jonathan - except that they're brothers who occasionally make out and smoke joints with Mrs. Glover (Sissy Spacek). The rather uptight Jonathan (he wears glasses and has braces, you see) can't handle Bobby's openness and is more than a little jealous of how eagerly her mother has embraced him into their family, and their romantic relationship stalls.

A jump into the early 1980s presents Bobby (Colin Farrell) and Jonathan (Dallas Roberts) all grown up. Bobby's a 24-year-old baker still living with Jonathan's parents in Cleveland, but when they retire to Arizona, he decides to move to New York and crash in Jonathan's East Village pad. There, Bobby's eager innocence quickly endears him to the older Claire (Robin Penn Wright), Jonathan's roommate, and they form a quirky triumvirate. There's more that develops later, what with Claire getting pregnant, and the three of them breaking up, coming back together again, and buying a house together - it's all very much like a slightly risque WB show, Party of Three - but the sparks that were briefly struck in that cramped, overdecorated East Village apartment quickly go out. There's only so long that a film that is this shallow can keep interest alive in this happily unconventional threesome in their small-town farmhouse, though, and so a dramatic departure and a tragic illness are introduced, presumably to ensure that tears will flow, dammit.

In his feature debut, director Michael Mayer has a solid set of performers in Farrell, Roberts and Wright, especially Farrell, whose angelic goodness somehow never becomes cloying, and Wright, displaying a rarely-seen verve and unpredictability as a volatile divorcee. But the ultimate thinness of this material is an unavoidable handicap, with numerous emotional scenes left dangling in a narrative vacuum (and some obvious scenes, like the birth of Claire's baby, are inexplicably left out), and Mayer's habit of marking the changing of the years with a selection of Rhino oldies gets wearisome fast. Whatever reservoir of good will the filmmakers may have built up during the earlier passages, especially the rather sweet and funny adolescent years, is exhausted by the conclusion's purposeless dramatics.

The DVD includes a short making-of documentary.

Eyebrows at the end of the world.

Comments

webmaker02's picture

webmaker02

Who writes these reviews? This person has no heart, no soul, and no grasp of the intricacies of the human heart. A Home At The End Of The World is a great movie. You'll love it, unless you're a bigot and don't like gay people, because Jonathan is certainly gay, and the relationship between him and Bobby is certainly a gay relationship. Robin Wright Penn does a fabulous job as Claire, and Dallas Roberts and Colin Farrell are outstanding as well. This is a great movie. Ignore all naysayers and go see it. I sometimes wonder if Bobby gets back together with Claire after Jonathan's death, and I am relatively sure he does. Anyway, it's a good movie. Check it out.

8 years 5 months ago
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pauly's picture

pauly

i saw the movie and found it realistic, though at first shocking. i did not read the novel but seeing the film made me curious and thirsty for more. it reflects real life, with it's original innocence and in the end the dramma that we have to go through every day.

8 years 9 months ago
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A Home At The End Of The World Rating

" Grim "

Rating: R, 2004

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