"Here's another DVD I'll definitely be buying when it comes out later this year. "A Home at the end of the World" is one of the most frustrating, yet also one of the most rewarding, films I've seen in a while. Fright wigs aside, it does a masterful job of evoking the late `60s in America. People have a habit of dying around 14-year-old Bobby Morrow: first his brother (in the film's most visually arresting scene), then his mother, and then his father. This sets up a situation wherein Bobby must move in with the family of his best friend from school, Jonathan Glover. When the two boys sleep together, even before Bobby moves in permanently, Jonathan puts the moves on him, and, wondrously, Bobby gets involved. The two are inseparable until Jonathan's mother (played by the luminous Sissy Spacek) discovers them in a VW together and Jonathan pulls away from Bobby. Jonathan ultimately moves to New York, but Bobby stays behind with the Glovers, until, eight years later, daddy Glover decides that it's time Bobby move out on his own. Bobby follows Jonathan to New York, only to be rejected once again by his childhood friend, at which point he turns to Jonathan's roommate, the free-spirited Clare, for solace. What follows is fairly predictable if you've seen any movies about gay relationships in the late seventies and early eighties, but the part that rings true is the self-destructive relationship between the male leads. Jonathan wants no one but Bobby, but can't appreciate that he already has him. Bobby wants Jonathan, but is willing to "settle" for a relationship with Clare, especially when it comes with the promise of a family and a child. Jonathan throws himself into a promiscuous lifestyle and pays the price all movie homosexuals must pay for sleeping around. But Bobby is still there. And the question becomes, why? Is Bobby fundamentally gay or bi or neuter? Does it matter? Bobby, as played by Colin Farrell, is infinitely vulnerable (his younger avatar, Eric Smith, seems much more of an adult than the childlike Farrell); Bobby just wants a family. He loves the people who are willing to fill that void in his life. These include Jonathan, Clare, their daughter, and the Glovers. His pansexuality is a product of need. I kind of like this concept. Before Oscar Wilde, people for the most part had sex. They didn't worry about labels, because the labels didn't exist. Sodomy was a behavior disapproved of by the church, but the implication is that people engaged in it anyway. So who were these sodomites? They were probably people like Bobby, who were just looking for love. It's the Jonathans of this world who need the labels, and it's the labels that lead to heartbreak. Thanks are due to novelist and screenwriter Michael ("The Hours") Cunningham for reminding us of this basic fact. Further kudos are due to a soundtrack that includes Laura Nyro, Leonard Cohen, and Dusty Springfield."
A Small, Quiet But Beautiful Movie
H. F. Corbin | ATLANTA, GA USA | 07/31/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"One of the characters in this moving film says that there is a big, beautiful, noisy world out there. Thought quiet and small, this movie is certainly beautiful. Written by Michael Cunningham (THE HOURS) and based on his novel by the same name, this film stars Colin Farrell (Bobby), Robin Wright Penn (Clare), Dallas Roberts (Jonathan) and Sissy Spacek as Alice, Jonathan's mother. It's difficult to single out one of these four as being better than the others; they all give extraordinary performances. The action begins in 1967 In Cleveland, jumps to 1974 and then to 1982 in New York City. The film is essentially about making a home, redefining family--our family consists of those who love us-- seizing the day, living life-- as Tennyson would say- to the lees.
There are funny moments here-- as in any life-- I'm thinking now of the hilarious scene where the teenaged Bobby gets Jonathan's mom to smoke her first joint-- and many nice touches. The same mom, who becomes his mom after the death of his parents, teaches Bobby the secrets of baking a pie, a skill he later uses as a grownup when he and Jonathan open their own "Home" restaurant. The clothes and household furnishings look and feel right for the period; the soundtrack contains music of the times, some Dylan, Leonard Cohen and a little Mozart, (COSI FAN TUTTI) which is so appropriate since in much of Mozart as if every life, there is often sorrow just beneath the joy.
Predictably, the media have made much of Mr. Farrell's nixing his frontal nudity shot. He is absolutely right for such a scene would have been completely gratuitous. He looks fine fully clothed.
When I saw the movie, at the end the entire audience was completely silent and did not move for most of the credits, a sure sign that this film was a success. Surely A HOME AT THE END OF THE WORLD will be one of the best movies of the year. "
Slow, elegant, and beautiful, but ended too fast
Mark Twain | 08/08/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I was slightly disappointed by A Home at the End of the World, probably because I was expecting too much. The film was very enjoyable; well-written, well-acted and engrossing, but some of the dialogue seemed a bit forced and it really felt like chunks of the story were left out, especially toward the end. The film moved slowly, but unravelled beautifully, and at a mere 93 minutes, I really wish it had been fleshed out because I would have liked it a lot more. It seemed that after the hour mark, the writer (who brilliantly adapted The Hours from his own novel) seemed to want to finish the film without giving the audience any thought. That didn't do it for me. I needed more insight into why the characters did what they did. The ending felt so rushed that it didn't make much sense.
That is my only complaint for the film because the story was fantastic, especially for any gay adolescent who has felt some sort of attraction toward a straight best friend. The film is a journey, which begins in the late 60s and ends in the early 80s, into the lives of these two friends, one gay and one straight. Colin Farrel, who I never gave much thought to before, was fantastic in the film, bringing such vulnerable innocence to his character that I couldn't help falling for him. Robin Wright Penn delivered the usual terrific performance as the woman who comes between the two friends, and Sissy Spacek stole every scene she iwas in, especially in the beginning of the film. Dallas Roberts was fantastic as Jonathon, who feels Bobby (Farrell) has not only stolen his family, but his roomate (Penn).
This was a great film; slow, elegant, and beautiful, but it should have been longer. I wouldn't be surprised to see 20 minutes of deleted scenes on the DVD. I will definitely be reading the novel for more insight into these fantastic characters. The film is highly recommended, but I wish it had more of an ending."
Don't Miss This One
Purchaser of this Product | Eastern PA | 10/07/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This movie soars with its examination of relationships, family, and enduring friendships. Colin Farrell portrays his character with an honesty and depth that many other actors couldn't carry. Sissy Spacek - wow, great role, great job. What was ultimately uplifting about this movie to me was that at the end it rose above the gay cliches and examined the beautiful, deep relationship between Jonathan and Bobby, without focusing on the sexual aspects. This really isn't a 'gay' movie, its a movie that has a gay angle. While the movie may not be upbeat, I believe most viewers will leave the theater feeling uplifted. Do yourself a favor, catch this one."
"What a big, loud, noisy world we live in"
M. J Leonard | Silver Lake, Los Angeles, CA United States | 08/05/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Michael Cunningham's book, At Home at the End of the World, is a wonderful book that weaves together themes of sexual fluidity, love, and the fact that "a home" can be wherever you want it to be. This film version has dispensed with much of the interior monologue of the novel, concentrating instead on the chronology of events. While not packing the ferocious emotional punch of the last Cunningham adaptation, The Hours, A Home at the End of the World is still an honest and sincere account of a three-way friendship that survives life's trials. Although some critics are saying, that this is a hack, slash and burn job on the novel, I actually thought the movie was a swiftly paced, lovely, and quite poignant ninety minute journey.
The story moves from the suburbs of Cleveland in 1967 and the childhood experiences of Bobby (Colin Farrell), and Jonathan (Dallas Roberts) to New York in the 1980's where they both end up living with Clare (Robin Wright Penn). Bobby, at 7 sees his adored older brother walk into a glass door and die and then, soon after, tragically loses his mother. Jonathan is an outsider in high school until Bobby befriends him, gives him pot for the first time and shares a shy sexual experience with him. Then when Bobby's father dies, he is welcomed into Jonathan's family by Jonathon's mother, Alice (Sissy Spacek). Jonathan is clearly gay from an early age, and moves to New York. Bobby eventually follows, joining a household that also includes Clare. Claire is older, experiments with bizarre hair-coloring strategies, stitches hats for a living, pines for a child, and generally embraces the avant-garde. When Bobby and Clare start having an affair, Jonathon becomes jealous, feels like a "third wheel," and ultimately deserts them. But friendship and love prevail and they eventually manage to settle their differences and become a family again.
The film, while dispensing with much of the rich psychological detail of the book, still manages to focus on Bobby and Jonathan's teenage infatuation, Jonathan's adoration and resentment of Clare, Clare and Bobby's fumbling attempt at a real relationship, and most forcefully, Alice's observations of the people she loves and her own stagnant life. As the years pass, the characters weave in and out of each other's lives, while always remaining true to each other.
All the actors bring strength and resilience to their respective roles, Dallas Roberts is particularly strong as Jonathon, and he really nails the character's emotional search for love in New York. The lovely Robin Wright Penn is also good as Clare, and she plays the kooky, free spirited straight girl to perfection. Although, at times, I felt she might have been a little too old for the part. Farrell, although duly charismatic, never really gets a handle on Bobby's character. In one particular scene when Clare tells both Bobby and Jonathon that she's pregnant, Farrell looks sort of embarrassed, and almost stumbles when attempting to portray emotion. But A Home at the End of the World is still an astute study on the fluidity of friendships and the making of unconventional households. The viewer may be expecting conflict, resolution, and disagreement, but what they will actually get is mostly "life," where people who love one another are muddling through, and simply searching for a "home." Mike Leonard August 04.