• Review: A Country Called Home (2016)

    From Mark R. Leeper@21:1/5 to All on Tue Mar 8 15:27:02 2016
    (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
    Texas-raised girl.

    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.

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    Mark R. Leeper
    Copyright 2016 Mark R. Leeper

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