A HOME AT THE END OF THE WORLD
Close friends from childhood, Bobby and Jonathan (Andrew Chalmers, Ryan Donowho/ Erik Smith, Harris Allan) are inseparable. For the grown up Bobby (Colin Farrell), Jonathan's family - and in particular Jonathan's mother Alice (Sissy Spacek) - represents a kind of stability that he hasn't known since his brother, mother and father all died early. For the grown up and now openly gay Jonathan (Dallas Roberts), Bobby is a source of security but also resentment, for his closeness to Jonathan's own family. When they reunite in New York, together with the free-spirited Clare (Robin Wright Penn), they stumble onto their own kind of family structure, despite some pain and friction - and again in the shadow of death.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Colin Farrell shows us his sensitive, vulnerable side in this beautifully written adaptation by Michael Cunningham of his own novel about people ricocheting off the sides of life and finally finding peace - yet not at all as they expected. The story begins with the firm teenage friends Bobby and Jonathan experimenting with sex, as part of their friendship and their bond. Jonathan grows up to be gay, Bobby doesn't - but to the writer's credit, neither does he end up in denial. He straddles this friendship across normal sexual boundaries in a way that is entirely credible and touching. He isn't sexuallu attracted to Jonathan but their emotional relationship isn't bluff and surface bravado either. If anything, it's a kind of platonic romance.
Moving to New York some years apart, they re-unite in a shared apartment with Clare (Robin Wright Penn) who is madly in love with Jonathan but hides it under a free spirited exterior. Bobby's presence introduces a dangerous new element and the threesome begin to experience the complexities of their relationships.
By the time Clare really is pregnant - after some empty talk - she has fallen in love with Bobby, almost as a substitute for Jonathan but still profoundly. This is when the three of them make the decision to unite as a family. They move to a village and set up a small café, but the splinters are growing and the love that binds them begins to feel like the binding on Japanese females' feet - restricting.
Superb performances sell this story and involve us throughout, and Michael Mayer's direction is steady, subtle, solid and centred, never succumbing to the traps inherent in such emotionally wrought material.
Footnote for trivia fans: the actor making his debut as producer on this film is Tom Hulce, who starred as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in Amadeus (1984) for director Milos Forman.
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A HOME AT THE END OF THE WORLD (MA)
CAST: Colin Farrell, Dalls Roberts, Robin Wright Penn and Sissy Spacek
PRODUCER: John Hart, Tom Hulce, Pamela Koffler, Katie Roumel, Christine Vachon, John Wells
DIRECTOR: Michel Mayer
SCRIPT: Michael Cunningham (from his own novel)
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Enrique Chediak
EDITOR: Andrew Marcus, Lee Percy
MUSIC: Duncan Sheik
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Michael Shaw
RUNNING TIME: 96 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Dendy
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: May 19, 2005