From Mark R. Leeper@21:1/5 to All on Tue Mar 8 15:27:02 2016
A COUNTRY CALLED HOME
(a film review by Mark R. Leeper)
CAPSULE: Ellie, an aspiring twenty-six-year-old furniture
designer, is asked back to the Texas town where she grew
up and where her alcoholic father made her life miserable.
Her father has had a serious stroke and this may be her
last chance to see him alive. She returns home and finds
the town worse than she expected. She befriends an
androgynous cowboy singer and we see the town through
their eyes and explore unfinished business Ellie had with
her father. The story is minor and a little slow to
develop, but there are humorous highlights. The film
touches on aging, fidelity, and father-daughter
relationships. Anna Axter directs a screenplay she
co-wrote with Jim Beggarly. Rating: +1 (-4 to +4) or 6/10
Neither Ellie (played by Imogen Poots) nor her brother has much use
for their alcoholic father. But now he has had a bad stroke and
Ellie feels responsible to go back to Texas and see him and, if it
becomes necessary, to attend his funeral. Home is a small town in
Texas where not too surprisingly nobody particularly liked Ellie's
father. Then again there is a definite shortage of likeable people
in this town. And most of the people have known Ellie's father,
and it was not to their benefit. Many of the characters have
quirks that fail to be amusing. Eliie does find a comrade as
wounded as herself and builds a relationship on that. Her friend
is Reno (Mackenzie Davis), an aspiring singer=songwriter whom most
people in town think is male, but it seem a moot point. It does
not matter a lot because among either gender his audience seems
less willing to applaud than to try to bounce beer bottles off
Reno's head. Ellie must decide if she wants possible popularity in
the town or a friendship of Reno that would turn people off. It
takes her several microseconds her to make that decision.
The pacing of this film is slow, following the model of classic small-town-in-Texas films like THE LAST PICTURE SHOW. People
living in Texas seem to be unrushed. The film tries to achieve a
bit of Texas soul by having guitar music oppressively push aside
the story telling. I hope the funeral was intended to be funny. I
would hate to think it was unintentional.
The centerpiece of the film has got to be Imogen Poots who has had
supporting roles to this point. I do not believe she has had
starring roles before. Poots is something of a surprise. She has
attractive eyes that tell very well what she is thinking.
Apparently Poots is British but is absolutely believable as a
There is not a lot in the plot that is surprising or even original.
There is some wit and there is a not too unrealistic look at
strained family relationships. I rate the film a +1 on the -4 to +4
scale or 6/10. A COUNTRY CALLED HOME is currently playing in
theaters, VOD and iTunes.