A Home At The End Of The World (15)

Film image

The ViewBirmingham Review

StarStarNo StarNo StarNo Star
Review byMatthew Turner08/11/2004

Two out of Five stars
Running time: 95 mins

Potentially interesting story that doesn’t quite translate to the screen, despite good performances from its cast.

A Home At The End Of The World already has its own fair share of notoriety; it’s best known for consigning Colin Farrell’s full-frontal nude scene to the cutting-room floor, allegedly because it “frightened” test audiences. It’s a shame, because the film could have really used a hook like that (no matter how shallow or obvious), as the story itself lacks any kind of dramatic impact.

Based On The Novel

The film is based on the novel by Michael Cunningham, who also wrote the screenplay. This, coupled with the fact that it’s directed by theatre director Michael Mayer (making his feature film debut), goes some way to explaining why the movie is overly wordy and stagy. It centres on a young man named Bobby Morrow, played by Andrew Chalmers, then Erik Smith and finally Colin Farrell. As a young boy, Bobby loses his family members one by one, including his brother in a particularly shocking incident (the film’s most dramatic scene) that is partly his fault.

After the deaths of his own parents, he is taken in by the parents (Sissy Spacek and Matt Frewer) of his geeky best friend Jonathan (Harris Allan, then Dallas Roberts) and the two boys form an extremely close attachment to each other.

Years later, Bobby moves to New York and again moves in with Jonathan, as well as with Jonathan’s free-spirited lover, Clare (Robin Wright Penn). Things are complicated because Jonathan loves Bobby, Clare loves Jonathan (but sleeps with Bobby anyway) and Bobby…well, Bobby seems to love everybody. The intriguing thing about the film is that somehow, they manage to make this work, so instead of the expected arguments and fall-outs, they form another, wildly unconventional family unit.

Unusual Role For Farrell

This is an unusual role for Colin Farrell and he handles himself well, proving that he’s an actor first and a movie star second. It’s a sweet, subtle performance, but unfortunately it backfires because Bobby is so incredibly passive that we never really get inside him. For example, we never see him angry or even especially happy and, while it may work in a novel, it doesn’t translate well to the screen.

The supporting cast are equally good, particularly Roberts and Penn, whose roles are somewhat meatier, and it’s always good to see Matt Frewer in a film. However, the stand-out is Sissy Spacek, who’s delightful as Jonathan’s mother; the scene where she gets stoned with the boys is a definite highlight. Sadly, she isn’t in it nearly enough and the film really misses her once she’s gone.

In short, this is worth seeing for Farrell and Spacek’s performances, but it’s never particularly emotionally involving, which is a shame, given the dramatic potential of the material.

Be the first to review A Home At The End Of The World...
image
01 Focus (15)

Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Rodrigo Santoro

image
02 Selma (12A)

David Oyelowo, Carmen Ejogo, Tim Roth

image
03 Far from the Madding Crowd (tbc)

Carey Mulligan, Tom Sturridge, Matthias Schoenaert...

image
04 Chappie (tbc)

Hugh Jackman, Sigourney Weaver, Sharlto Copley

image
05 A Most Violent Year (15)

Oscar Isaac, Jessica Chastain, David Oyelowo

Content updated: 18/11/2017 14:12

Latest Film Reviews

Film Blog

Urban Pundit

Keep up to date with everything in film and cinema at Urban Pundit, the exciting new blog.

Film of the Week

The Conjuring (15)

Hugely enjoyable, genuinely scary horror flick that provides a welcome throwback to classic 1970s chillers, thanks to impeccable production design, a superb script, powerfully atmospheric direction, intense set-pieces and terrific performances.

Latest Close Up

Noah Baumbach Interview

The Frances Ha director discusses co-writing the script with Greta Gerwig, shooting against the backdrop of New York and the real lives of the city’s people, Greta Gerwig’s performance, the music in the film and the picture's visual style.