Audiences love when a movie has “something for everyone.” A film like Raiders of the Lost Ark is considered perfect because it’s a light-hearted action adventure movie with a romantic subplot. However, movies strictly about romance are considered “less than” for some reason. Romantic movies are written off as sappy, cheesy, saccharine, etc. But, that doesn’t make much sense. Most people experience romance at some point in their life. Loving someone is a nearly universal experience. So, why do these movies get written off so easily? The answer lies in films like Home Again.
Synopsis: Recently separated from her husband, Alice decides to start over by moving back to her hometown of Los Angeles with her two young daughters. During a night out on her 40th birthday, Alice meets three aspiring filmmakers who happen to be in need of a place to live. Alice agrees to let the guys stay in her guest house temporarily, but the arrangement ends up unfolding in unexpected ways. Alice’s unlikely new family and new romance comes to a crashing halt when her ex-husband shows up, suitcase in hand. HOME AGAIN is a story of love, friendship, and the families we create. And one very big life lesson: Starting over is not for beginners. (eOne Films)
Starring: Reese Witherspoon, Pico Alexander, and Michael Sheen
Writer: Hallie Meyers-Shyer
Director: Hallie Meyers-Shyer
Rating: PG (Canada)/PG-13 (United States)
Running Time: 97mins
For showtimes and more, check out Home Again on movietimes.com.
The highest praise one can give Home Again is that it works best when it feels most like a sitcom. The premise is straight out of the Miller-Boyett heyday. And every so often, the film leans into that decadent kitsch. Unfortunately, it spends most of its runtime operating in a no man’s land of jokes that don’t land, and a cast that couldn’t care less about the finished product.
The film presents itself as a love letter to film making. But, the script is inept, there’s no real momentum to the story, and the characters are all defined by a single trait, if they’re defined at all. Alice is the daughter of a famous auteur, and the guys learn this the morning after they meet Alice and her friends at a bar. However, the reason the guys are at the bar is to celebrate a successful meeting about their film. Certainly they would have learned this information the night before. But, in order for the plot to make sense, it has to be revealed in baffling ways. For a film so caught up in its devotion to the medium, it falls flat on its face at every turn.
Ultimately, Home Again doesn’t work. Its cast is above the material, and they know it. The resulting film is completely unmemorable and will be relegated to bargain bin deals in a year’s time. As for the question proposed at the beginning of the post? Home Again presents the worst portrayal of love. Movies of its ilk use an overly idealized view of love to manipulate its viewers. This unrealistic portrayal of all of love’s strange little nuances is unrecognizable to those who know the real thing. Movies present heightened realities all the time. But when a movie presents a familiar experience in a heightened way, it seems disingenuous and cynical.
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