Finding Home

Calling Lifetime - somebody stole a film from and released it theatrically! Finding Home is one of those movies that tries to be earnest, but is hampered by such a large sense of melodrama and overacting that any meaningful attempt at making a serious movie falls on its head. The story is unnecessarily complex, there are too many characters, and the constant flashbacks are unwieldy and time consuming. It mixes in mourning, false memories, a woman torn between the past and the present, and a woman torn between two men. They are the same woman, Amanda (Lisa Brenner, What Boys Like, The Patriot), who looks like she stepped out of a shampoo commercial.

Amanda is dating her boss Nick (Johnny Messner, Hostage, Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid), a smarmy guy who's trying to get into her pants. He gets close, but Amanda still resists. A call from Katie (Genevieve Bujold, Eye of the Beholder, Last Night) informs her that her grandmother died. Her grandmother owned the Cliff's Edge, a small inn situated on the spectacular Maine coast. Amanda quickly rushes to Maine to take care of things. Once there, she begins having horrible flashbacks involving blood, a knife, and a young boy. Gee, that young boy, Katie's son Dave (Mischa Collins, Girl, Interrupted, Liberty Heights) now works as a handyman for Cliff's Edge. She's not sure why, but she feels extremely uncomfortable around him.

Director Lawrence D. Foldes (Social Suicide, Nightforce) flashes back to happier times when Amanda was a child with her grandmother Esther (Louise Fletcher, Manna from Heaven, Big Eden). Something happened when she was young with Dave, and Amanda's mother Grace (Jeanetta Arnette, The Shipping News, Pay It Forward) took a screaming Amanda off the island, forbidding her to ever return. In the years since, Amanda lost touch with her Grandmother. Foldes, who co-wrote the screenplay with Grafton S. Harper, David Ruprecht, and Steven Zambo present a mystery surrounding this incident. As the movie progresses, Amanda learns more and the flashbacks change slightly, revealing a bit more of the truth. For anybody with half a brain, they can recognize immediately that Amanda seriously misjudges Dave, and that Grace is the personification of evil (Arnette does this type of role very well).

Alone, this would be enough and make an interesting film. Instead, the story crams in a series of other characters. Amanda's friend and co-worker Candace (Sherri Saum, House Party 3, Indecent Proposal) arrives on the island with Nick and her own boyfriend CJ (Andrew Lukich), causing lots of tension all around and providing for a series of over-acted, melodramatic encounters, the worst of which plays out at night in the rain (of course). Foldes assaults the viewer with soft-focus flashbacks, cheesy overbearing music, predictable storylines, and lots of earnest, pained looks from all involved. They don't trust their material enough to let the emotion come through, and insist on throwing in more. More subplot, more music, more everything, until they hammer their story to death.

Mongoose Rates It: Pretty Bad.
2 hours, 4 minutes, Rated PG-13 for thematic issues, sexual content, and some violence.

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