(2004)3Derek ArmstrongThe title A Home at the End of the World gives off both an optimistic and a pessimistic vibe, simultaneously, which is appropriate for a film that can't figure out what its tone should be. For example, the plot follows the protagonist (Colin Farrell's Bobby) through the deaths of a half-dozen important family members and friends, yet Duncan Sheik's dopey score is better suited to an annoyingly whimsical romantic comedy. That dopiness is, however, well suited to Farrell's performance. Despite the succession of traumas his character endures, his attitude rarely changes from that of a pseudo-hippie naïf. It's hard to tell whether that's a reflection on director Michael Mayer's vision for the character, or Farrell's limitations as an actor, but it rings terribly false. Other than these traumas, the plot focuses almost exclusively on a soggy love triangle between Bobby, his childhood best friend/love interest, Jonathan (Dallas Roberts), and the wacky artist (Robin Wright Penn) Jonathan lives with sort-of platonically, whose hair is dyed a different color in every scene. The only performer among these that registers, even remotely, is Roberts, while Wright Penn throws out all her best instincts, playing the character as absurdly indistinct and shallow. Meanwhile, the action gets side-tracked by red herrings, such as the apparent physical attraction between Bobby and his surrogate mother (Sissy Spacek). While this never goes anywhere, the occasional presence of Spacek does distract us from the self-indulgent vagaries of the central trio. There are interesting ideas about sexuality, free love vs. monogamy, family and the AIDS crisis buried somewhere in A Home at the End of the World, screaming to get out. But since they are nullified by the film's overall banality, they remain homeless, as it were.
cast-crew for A Home at the End of the World on AllMovie