Directed by Paul Dano
HOME, 14 November 2018
It is late fifties America, we are in a small town in Montana, and a teenage boy watches his parents’ marriage fall apart.
When the father leaves home to fight wildfires – he cannot find a decent job otherwise – the mother is drawn toward another man, beginning an extramarital affair.
What is invigorating about the film is the way Joe (Ed Oxenbould) is able to be loyal to both his parents, to cope with their explosions of rage, to navigate what becomes a very uncertain world. There is a rooted rhythm to his life, a path through, despite all the emotional disruption. And his love for his parents never really falters. They give up on each other, eventually, but he doesn’t give up on them. He is a kind of heroic figure.
Joe notices things, compassionately and a little coldly too. His parents frailties for one thing, the filibuster pretensions – what a grand, pathetic facade they make – of his mother’s lover for another. He closely observes all the small-town life that goes on around him.
Probably, since Richard Ford wrote the source novel, there is an allusion in one incident to Faulkner’s classic story ‘Barn Burning’ – and that’s all to the good. Wildlife can sit in the same company. It is a classy, emotionally potent film about fathers and sons, mothers and family.