A Home at the End of the World

The only reason to see A Home at the End of the World is to watch Colin Farrell's performance.  Not his schlong, which was edited out after it distracted audiences in test screenings. Farrell typically plays the hunky badass type character, and his antics off-screen only add to his persona.  Here, he plays a sensitive, sexually ambiguous man.  It's different from nearly every other role he's taken, and shows that despite the toughness and bravado (real or imagined), Farrell is somebody who can do a good job with a difficult role.  The rest of A Home at the End of the World is not really worth talking about.  It was adapted by Michael Cunningham (who also wrote The Hours) from his own novel.  And it feels like there is something really missing in the adaptation.  For the most part, the story is dull and cliched, with only the Farrell's acting keeping things afloat.

The first part of A Home at the End of the World takes place in 1974 Cleveland.  Jonathan Glover (Harris Allen) is the nerdy kid at school.  He has no friends until he meets Bobby Morrow (Erik Smith, Cold Mountain, A Walk to Remember).  The two grow pretty close, to the point of some late night experimentation.  After Bobby's family undergoes a horrible tragedy, the Glovers take Bobby in and treat him like a second son.  Bobby is a smooth talker.  He utterly charms Jonathan's mother Alice (Sissy Spacek, Tuck Everlasting, In the Bedroom).  Jonathan slowly begins resenting Bobby's presence.  He feels like Bobby is trying to 'steal' his parents from him.  He eventually leaves for New York.

Fast forward to 1982, and Bobby (Colin Farrell, Intermission, S.W.A.T.), still sporting eighties rock hair and a baker by profession, decides he needs a change of pace.  He calls up Jonathan and tells him he's coming to New York to visit his friend.  Jonathan (Dallas Roberts, The Lucky Ones, Music) is living with Clare (Robin Wright Penn, Holes, The Singing Detective), and pregnant with his child.  Since Jonathan is gay, it's not really a big deal.  The attraction between Bobby and Clare is immediate, especially after she gets rid of his ratty hair and he emerges looking a lot like Colin Farrell.  Jonathan again begins to feel crowded out.

The plot wends through some more events, most of which feel pretty contrived.  The characterizations are cliched, especially that of Jonathan.  Clare is the typical flighty artist who doesn't want to commit.  Bobby frequently has a glassy look in his eye like he is lost.  He comes across as more than a little slow because of his terseness.  And although his vapidity is a little infuriating, it is still a good, different performance by Farrell.  It's the story that doesn't really work, and director Michael Mayer doesn't do anything to resolve this issue. 

Mongoose Rates It: Not That Good.
2 hours, Rated R for some drug content, sexuality, nudity, language, and a disturbing accident.

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