Going in to this flick I did not know what to expect. I mean I have seen my share of Colin Farrell movies, so I did sort of have some odd preconceived notion. But after seeing A Home at the End of the World, let me say it was nothing like I could have ever imagined.
Bobby Morrow (Andrew Chambers/Erik Smith) has seen his fair share of tragedies over the years. He looked up to his older brother (Ryan Donowho) until the day he died. Several years later he is left orphaned and must stay with close friend Jonathan (Harris Allen) and his parents until they retire to Arizona. Now in his twenties, Bobby (Colin Farrell) must find himself a new home; which leads to him meeting back up with his friend Jonathan (Dallas Roberts) in downtown New York City. Jonathan and his eccentric roommate Clare (Robin Wright Penn) take him in and show Bobby what life is really all about. Together they share love, loss, and the constant desire to find a place they can call home. That desire spurs the three of them move out of the East Village and venture north to Up State New York where they find a house in the country, start up their own café, and raise Bobby and Clare’s baby.
Bobby is an enigma. It’s hard to read what is going on in his mind. Jonathan is gay, and appears to have always been. Bobby has even partaken in some acts with him in the past. But you can never tell if the two are going to come together again, sexually. Rather, their bond as friends are still so thick that maybe they think it would ruin it, even if Jonathan has AIDS.
Is the ending a big let down? Is it dreary and sad? Well that’s open to interpretation really. Life goes on, right? The film was certainly captivating. I could’ve easily sat and watched an additional two hundred and ninety minutes. And all the credit goes to everyone involved.
The film spans a little over fifteen years, starting with Bobby’s childhood in the late sixties. The look and feel they need to capture that is there, with each moment in Bobby’s life perfectly suited to the film. First time director Michael Mayer makes an impact with each moment committed to screen and Colin Farrell is mesmerizing. In what is his best performance since saturating our soil three years ago, I was awestruck by his nuances in the moment. He was Bobby. He is Bobby. Anybody who has made a Colin Farrell joke needs to see this movie and bite their freaking tongues. Robin Wright Penn holds true to her consistency as an actress. Another job well done and another performance hit out of the park. Never once has she phoned in a role, it’s just a shame she never gets the credit she deserves. Dallas Roberts, a relative unknown, already has three strikes against him. He has to work opposite Farrell, Penn, and Sissy Spacek. A difficult task but by golly he shines. This is Colin and his movie, but without the chemistry between these two, this would just be some sappy period indie. I wouldn’t be surprised if Roberts were to get a Supporting Actor nod. Sissy Spacek of course has made a career as of late playing a housewife with issues. Nothing different here, except one of the funniest scenes involving marijuana in recent memory.
A Home at the End of the World is both heart wrenching and charming. It hypnotizes you with each dramatic scene and has you choking on your popcorn with its funny moments; a perfect blend of comedy and tragedy. The ringmaster behind all of it is screenwriter and original author, Michael Cunningham who never lets moments of fear, loss, sexual experimentation, and random drug humor become blown over the top. Never are they gratuitous. Not even the drug humor. Subtleties are what make this movie a real gem.
This flick is currently in a limited release, so I suggest hunting it down. It is well worth it. From beginning to end you’ll lose yourself in the wonder of this story, in its breathtaking cinematography, and in the pure grace of every performance. A perfect mixture of talent in front of and behind the camera makes A Home at the End of the World a truly exquisite motion picture.
Reviewed By: Bill Beyrer