Film & DVD Review: A Home at the End of the World

Director: Michael Mayer
Certificate Rated R (USA) 15 (UK)

Reviewed by Jacqueline

Plot Summary

From the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Hours comes a story that chronicles a dozen years in the lives of two best friends who couldn’t be more different. From suburban Cleveland in the 60s, to New York City in the 80s, where they meet an older woman, the film charts a journey of trials, triumphs, loves and losses. Now the question is: can they navigate the unusual triangle they’ve created and hold their friendship together?

Review

Michael Cunningham, Pulitzer Prize-winning author and screenwriter has triumphed with The End of The World. He has brought to life on the big screen a fascinating character! Bobby Morrow, is brought to life by the actor Colin Farrell. As Colin says, “he is bisexual, asexual, he’s not sexual he’s a lover: “If he met a girl that rocked his world, he’d be with her, and if he met a boy that rocked his world, he’d be with him”.

A can of worms has been opened up with the film focussing on sexuality and its relationships and the boundaries of sexual tension.

You will just have to watch the movie and decide for yourself if Bobby is bisexual, asexual or just plain sexual. Michael Cunningham is probably best known as author and screenwriter of The Hours, starring Nicole Kidman.

Michael Mayer, directs A Home at The End of The World. It is evident that he seems to have been inspired by the script and enjoyed directing the flux of interesting, characters on screen. Perhaps with Mayer spending his own time in New York it was easy for him to connect his real life experiences with those on screen. Mayer says that he “too spent the first 18 years of his life in the suburbs (of Washington, DC) and moved to New York in 1980” He goes on to say that “the beautiful but complicated friendship in the book reminded me of relationships that I have had; and the story of creating a family against all odds spoke to me in a very powerful way. At the time, I remember thinking that it would make a wonderful film”.

Mayers directing throughout the entirety of the film is unique and interesting. My only criticism is that the beginning of the film was a little disappointing, as it was a somewhat unimaginative. It just didn’t grab my attention enough and found it uninspiring to see the 9 year old Bobby Morrow, (Andrew Chalmers), being woken to hear and see his brother Carlton Morrow, (Ryan Donowho), making out in bed with his girlfriend.

However, after the first ten minutes into the film it became apparent that the beginning of the film was the way it was to highlight the very short screen relationship and dynamic between the two brothers – so I suppose the beginning made some sense.

You will enjoy the acting between the young Bobby and his brother Carlton, the script is meaty. Bobby being in awe of his brother, saps everything up like a sponge. One of the most interesting scenes directed by Mayers is where the young Bobby is floating over a graveyard looking down at his brother. His brother seems to have gave him something for ‘clarity of vision’.

The script moves onto another dimension, with an unexpected twist, involving Carlton. I thought that this was extremely clever, as I didn’t see this one coming!

I liked the fact that the script flowed well in par with the directing. Mayer and Cunningham make a great team. It was entirely appropriate that the script jumped ahead a few years with Bobby being a teenager at high school.

Bobby, (Erik Smith), really starts to emerge as he creates his own identity and befriends a schoolmate Jonathan Glover, (Harris Allan). They both explore their sexuality and have fun under the duvet, but at the same time they don’t take themselves seriously. It is funny and also typical that a teenager says “the Stones are coming in March, we’ve got to get tickets” after they had been making out.

As far as relationships go perhaps the most interesting part of the film is when Bobby moves in with the Glovers, and for sure he has a lot on his plate. It is at this point in the film that Colin Farrell takes on the part of Bobby and comes into his own. Having just dealt with the death of his father, exploring homosexual sex with his best friend, he finds that his best friend’s mother Alice Glover, (Sissy Spacek) seems rather fond of him. One of the most interesting scenes (curiously) between the two of them is when she is showing Bobby how to make bread.

The part of Alice, (Sissy Spacek), is an interesting one and Sissy is great in the role. Alice is an interesting character, who perhaps regretted the things she didn’t do in life and tried to make up for it through Bobby.

Sissy is probably best known for her roles in the 1976 movie Carrie. Her other roles have been in Three Women, Missing, The River, Crimes of Heart, The Long Walk Home, and The Bedroom.

As time passes by, when Bobby is in his twenties Bobby he moves to New York to live with Jonathan and his friend Clare, (Robin Wright Penn). From here on in the movie there is a lot of sexual tension and a lot of sex, straight sex, gay sex, and sex just for the sake of sex.

Without giving too much away there is a lot of confusion over who is with who and who loves who, but this is what makes the script and the directing so great, as it examines the boundaries of relationships and sex.

Bobby seems to be the one who keeps people together! It is apparent that people are drawn to him, they are attracted to him as he is sexual and confident. He doesn’t stop to think when he wants to be with male or female company. If he wants a cuddle or a kiss, or sex he just gets on with it and deals with the consequences later.

The movie continues to explore sex and relationships right through to the end of the movie with all three of them being caught up in a love triangle.

As for the ending, I thought it was a bit disappointing, it just didn’t go out with a bang! Perhaps I thought it was just an okay ending, and nothing spectacular and felt it could have been better.

Colin Farrell was just okay in his role as Bobby, nothing to cry out about. His acting in previous movies has been better. Colin’s next movie to watch out for is in Oliver Stone’s epic feature Alexander. For me the main stars of this film was the young Bobby, as a teenager, played by Erik Smith, he was terrific in this part and a star in the making. I thought all of his scenes had an edge to them and his acting was brilliant.

The other star of this movie was Robin Wright Penn, (Clare). She made the part her own and I couldn’t think of any other actress who would have done it any better. Robin really came into her own, bringing to life a kookie older woman who enjoyed the company of men who were sexual. She seemed to accept their homosexual tendencies, but at the same time expected the men in her life to love being with her. Quite amazingly she was not the jealous type, she just loved and expected to be loved back, a lot like Bobby. Robin, as Clare looked really cool and hip, with her trendy, funky clothes and bright red hair with blue streaks, very new age and cool. Watch out for Robin at the Academy Awards and remember who told you so!

Robin will be remembered for her roles in Forrest Gump, Message In A Bottle and The Princess Bride. She will next appear in Deborah Kampmeier’s Virgin.

Overall the movie was interesting because of its excellent script by Michael Cunningham and the brilliant directing of Michael Mayer.

A truly interesting, unique and fascinating film and one that is worthwhile watching!

You will enjoy the music from the likes of Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, Yazoo, Patti Smith, Dusty Springfield and Duncan Sheik.

CREDITS

SCREENWRITERS

Michael Cunningham

PRODUCERS

Tom Hulce/Christine Vachon/Katie Roumel/Pamela Koffler/John Wells/John N. Hart Jr/Jeffrey Sharp

CASTING

Director

Michael Mayer

Jim Carnahan Canadian Casting ROBIN D. COOK, C.D.C.

MUSIC

Duncan Sheik

CAST

  • Bobby Morrow (1967), (Andrew Chalmers)
  • Carlton Morrow, (Ryan Donowho)
  • Emily, (Asia Vieira)
  • Bobby Morrow (1974), (Erik Smith)
  • Jonathan Glover (1974), (Harris Allan)
  • Ned Glover, (Matt Frewer)
  • Alice Glover, (Sissy Spacek)
  • Bobby Morrow (1982), (Colin Farrell)
  • Jonathan Glover (1982), (Dallas Roberts)
  • Clare, (Robin Wright Penn)Studio: Warner Bros
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