Homecoming (2012)

Movie review by
Brian Costello, Common Sense Media
Homecoming (2012) Movie Poster Image
Thoughtful reunion-themed film has mature themes, drug use.
  • NR
  • 2013
  • 93 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

The fulfillment of long friendships and the enduring power of true love.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The five characters are successful and career-centered African-Americans in their late 30s who frequently address topics of concern in their lives and their communities.

Violence

In a flashback sequence, a woman attending college is shown on the verge of being date-raped by a man who has spiked her drink with drugs.

Sex

A woman climbs into bed with a man and makes reference to his erection.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters smoke marijuana. They also drink wine and malt liquor.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Homecoming is a 2012 movie about five friends who attended a predominantly African-American university in the 1990s reuniting to get caught up, share memories and secrets, and come to terms with where they were and where they are now. The characters are successful and career-centered and miles beyond the all-too-typical African-American stereotypes that are so pervasive in media. However, parents should know that, since this is a reunion and a party weekend, there is frequent drinking (wine and malt liquor), as well as marijuana smoking. In a flashback sequence, one of the characters describes how she was date-raped in college by a beloved mutual friend of everyone's who recently passed away. The mature themes centering on impending mid-life crises and nostalgia for early '90s college life make this movie best for teens and adults.

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What's the story?

Five friends who went to college together at a predominantly African-American university have reunited near their alma mater in Washington, D.C., for homecoming weekend. Twenty years later, they are all successful at their careers -- doctor, professor, television producer -- but must come to grips with the recent death of one of their friends, Robert, who went down the path of crime and drugs. As they get caught up over wine, malt liquor, and marijuana, Ashley finally reveals to her friends that she was date-raped by Robert. Meanwhile, Barrett and Deena, who were college sweethearts, are on the path of rekindling their past romance. As all this is being revealed, these characters must come to terms with who they were, where they are, and what it means to forgive.

Is it any good?

HOMECOMING is a fully formed, three-dimensional portrayal of five friends from college reuniting 20 years later and sharing the laughter and pain of memories, love, sorrow, and long-held secrets. Although it's slow-paced at times, the film uses reunion conversation as a vehicle to discuss not only their lives but also other issues of importance in the African-American community. The overall result is a study of five characters who have attained material success but are still grappling with personal issues of forgiveness, trust, and true love.

In some respects, this movie can be seen as a contemporary version of The Big Chill. As such, themes of impending mid-life crises and '90s college nostalgia most likely will fly over the heads of younger and less mature audiences. But for those seeking a movie in which African-Americans are presented in ways that go far beyond the stereotyping that persists in TV and movies, Homecoming is a movie well worth watching.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about portrayals of African-Americans on television and in film. How is this movie similar to and different from other depictions of African-American characters?

  • This movie was adapted from a play. What do you think the challenges might be when turning a work that was originally a play into a feature-length film?

  • Is the drinking and drug use in the movie necessary to create realism for the scenes and characters, or does it seem gratuitous? Why?

Movie details

Themes & Topics

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