From the author of The Hours comes A Home at the End of the World, an interesting romantic drama starring Colin Farrell, Robin Wright Penn and little-known actor Dallas Roberts.
The movie covers a dozen years in their lives, specifically looking at the characters of Bobby (Farrell) and John (Roberts). They meet in junior high and quickly kick off a good relationship, one that goes from smoking weed to something slightly more sexual. As they grow up, they move apart in lifestyles, despite the fact Bobby has basically been raised by John's parents (Sissy Spacek and Harris Allen) since his father died. In their mid-twenties and after several years of hardly speaking, Bobby moves in with John and his close roommate Clare (Penn). John is now openly gay, but Bobby is more of an enigma. Regardless, Bobby and Clare soon begin a relationship, which both glues the threesome together and tears them apart.
A Home at the End of the World is a nice, subtle drama with interesting characters and a plot that, despite the bizarre relationships between the three characters, is very believable. The movie avoids much of the clichés you'd expect from romantic dramas and the progression of the characters for over a decade works very well. In many ways, A Home at the End of the World is a unique drama, a film on its own.
The acting is top notch. Colin Farrell, easily one of the best actors out there, is terrific. What impresses me most about Farrell is that he plays so many different characters and is willing to do smaller, edgier roles despite his growing status in Hollywood. This year alone, he's played an Irish bank robber, a [bisexual?] father and soon, the greatest conqueror history has ever known. Roberts is also very effective, though I don't think he got to show his range. As for Penn, she also does a very good job, though I am curious about the choice to cast her in the role. She is noticeably older than her two male counterparts (by ten years) and, donning bright red hair and various, youthful outfits, she seemed out of place. Of course, her character may have been older in the novel...
The movie itself is great for the first two acts. It remains fresh and fast-paced, showing us as the characters progress and change over the course of time. A Home at the End of the World does begin to wear its welcome in the third act as it slows to adjust to the characters' maturity, but does pick up the pace again in the last five minutes or so. While I think the length of time was appropriate, it is a little surprising that over ten years of these characters' lives are portrayed in under 100 minutes.
A Home at the End of the World is a refreshing and unique romantic drama. It isn't incredibly powerful, but it's real.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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