Produced by John Hart, Tom Hulce, Pamela Koffler; Katie Roumel, Jeffrey Sharp, Christine Vachon, John Wells.
Cast: Colin Farrell, Dallas Roberts, Robin Wright Penn, Sissy Spacek, Matt Frewer Harris Allan, Erik Smith, Ryan Donowho, Andrew Chalmers,
A smoky-sweet appreciation is what I was left with after this movie, and not just because the music which fills it is so redolent of the smoke-and-acid-hazed 60s, 70s and 80s. A character-driven piece based on the novel by Michael Cunningham (who won a Pulitzer Prize for The Hours) this is a movie with heart and soul.
In 1967, Bobby Morrow (Andrew Chalmers) is nine and worships his elder brother
Such euphoria cannot last and a shocking accident takes
At High School, after his mother dies and even before his father shortly follows suit, Bobby (now played by Erik Smith) fits himself into the Glover family. Agreeably sharing nights and sex with young, gay Jonathan (Harris Allan, Hunter in Queer As Folk), and via Laura Nyro’s evocative ‘Desirée’, he soon seduces Jonathan’s mother Alice (a seemingly ageless Sissy Spacek) into sharing reefers with the two teenage boys. Soon, he’s calling her mom and she’s baking hash cookies with which they can all watch old movies together in an epitome of 70s (alternative) family togetherness. While Jonathan appreciates the friendship, it seems like Bobby has poured himself into his family, appropriating both it and his life. Jonathan moves to
Bobby, who has suffered enormous losses in his short life, cannot bear to be alone. Carrying mostly record albums in his backpack, he moves in with Jonathan (played with nuance by Dallas Roberts) in
Bobby at 24, played by an authentic Colin Farrell, is the kind of fluid, boundary-less person who can appreciate the melancholy of Leonard Cohen’s ‘Suzanne’ one minute and totally be into the very different otherness of Steve Reich’s ‘Music for 18 Musicians’ the next. Like a chameleon he can be happy anywhere, the suburbs, the
In the 70s and 80s, alternative lifestylers were experimenting with triads, and though Bobby happily adopts the idea (and soon the reality) of a kind of threesome with baby, it proves not as easy for Jonathan and Clare. Bobby loves everyone - Jonathan, Clare and baby Rebecca. Clare hopelessly loves Jonathan, while the love of Jonathan’s life is Bobby.
Unrequited love is perennial and despite attempts at alternative lifestyles, conditioning seems to win. In a beautifully poetic and understated way the movie examines love, need and relationships, marriage and compromises, and freedom to be oneself from the perspective of two generations. However, the story is largely a personal one with many personal resonances for those who grew up in this era. With musical favourites including The Band, Paul Simon and Bob Dylan and an original soundtrack by Duncan Sheik, A Home at the End of the World evocatively and poignantly captures a time and a culture.
© Avril Carruthers 27th April 2005
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