"Odd Twist of Trust"
A Review of "Home Again" by Nathan H. Box
Director: Hallie Meyers-Shyer, Writer: Hallie Meyers-Shyer, Starring: Reese Witherspoon, Michael Sheen, Nat Wolff
Rating: 2 Stars, SKIP
The plot for "Home Again" can be summed up in the following manner: A single mom (Reese Witherspoon) in Los Angeles finds herself in unfamiliar territory. She is separated from her husband who lives back in New York, has two beautiful daughters worried about making L.A. home, is working hard to get a new career venture off the ground and to complicate matters worse allows three young filmmakers to live with her family after a night of celebrating her birthday. The plot with for this film isn't a difficult one to grasp. What I did find very complicated were the interpersonal relationships all of which are centered around Reese Witherspoon's character. There is the relationship with her daughters, mother, friends, estranged husband, the three young men (one in particular played by Pico Alexander), and of course the intrapersonal relationship with herself. These complications gave this movie potential; a potential that really never delivered.
A mid-life crisis can come in many forms. Hollywood likes to pretend men go and buy themselves lots of new toys to make themselves feel younger and woman begin questioning their status and place in the world. Both of these cliches are well traveled and worn. Still, "Home Again" chooses to take us down a familiar path. It allows our main character to come to some sense of truth but not a point that would be well tolerated by anyone in the real world.
My biggest complaint with this film is the missed opportunities in almost every character interaction. Without exception, almost every exchange seems fake and forced. 20 minutes into the film, I couldn't help but think that no one really talks like this. Real and honest dialogue would have added another layer of complexity to this movie and made the characters more relatable. Instead, we are left with 2-D versions of well-rounded characters who more often than not fall flat.
While we are on the subject of honesty, we must address the elephant in the room for this film. It is extremely white. Taking place in L.A., one of the most diverse cities in America, I was flabbergasted to only see a handful of people of color, none of which played major characters in the film. This didn't seem real or authentic to me but of course, I may be living in a multi-cultural fishbowl. Again, I think this was a missed opportunity for the writer to add another layer of complexity to the plot.
Most of this film is a competition with Reese Witherspoon in the middle of a four-man sandwich. On one side is a husband who triumphantly returns home to save his family. On the other side, is a younger version of Reese's husband and his two friends. The film wants us to focus on the tug of war with the central question to be answered focused on who she will choose. Ultimately, it is an odd twist of fate that influences her decision. Her choice is both satisfying and predictable; which happens to be my reasoning behind not liking lots of romantic comedies.
Predictably, before the credits roll everything is solved and tied up in a nice, neat, little bow. All is figured out with much complexity or nuance. For some, this may be fine but for the discerning movie-goer, it will leave you disappointed which is why I recommend you skip this film.
Be good to each other,