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Parents' Guide to

A Home at the End of the World

By Nell Minow, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 18+

Great acting, but soap opera-ish. Not for kids.

Movie R 2004 90 minutes
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Despite performances of great delicacy and insight, the movie dissolves into soapiness without the lyrical and meditative prose to provide context and texture. The book on which A HOME AT THE END OF THE WORLD is based is the internal musings of the four main characters. What made it work was the beauty of author Michael Cunningham's language; it is touching and illuminating, and even poetic, but that does not make a movie. What's left to put on film is the outlines of the story.

Instead of holding it together, the grounding provided by top-notch performances makes the story seem episodic and superficial by contrast and some of the cinematic touches are heavy-handed. Farrell struggles with the double handicaps of having to play a character who is a bit of a blank and doing so in a truly atrocious wig, but he manages to capture Bobby's simplicity without making him seem simple-minded. But Roberts especially is revelatory. Just the way he enters a room or holds his head shows tremendous sensitivity and insight and his every glance is filled with delicate eloquence. First-time director Michael Mayer may have put too much faith in the ability of some overused and slightly cheesy music to make his points, but Roberts gets us as close as possible to the depth of understanding in Cunningham's novel.

Movie Details

  • In theaters: July 23, 2004
  • On DVD or streaming: November 1, 2004
  • Cast: Colin Farrell , Robin Wright , Sissy Spacek
  • Director: Michael Mayer
  • Inclusion Information: Female actors
  • Studio: Warner Bros.
  • Genre: Drama
  • Run time: 90 minutes
  • MPAA rating: R
  • MPAA explanation: strong drug content, sexuality, nudity, language and a disturbing accident
  • Last updated: April 1, 2022

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