Synopsis by Mark Deming
A young girl is faced with the emotional and personal responsibilities of an adult in this drama set in rural Massachusetts in 1963. Nora (Stephanie Castellarin) is a 12-year-old girl who has been forced into a maturity beyond her years; her mother Dolores (Patricia Kalember) lost three younger children in a car wreck years before, and ever since, she's been subject to episodes of severe depression, while her father, Martin (Brian Delate), must struggle to hold the family together while trying to find work as a carpenter. When John F. Kennedy is assassinated, Dolores (who once met the slain president) is thrown into an emotional tailspin and is placed in a mental institution in Boston. While Martin and the younger children move to the city to be near her, Nora must stay behind to continue with her schooling, and she is sent to live with her Aunt Rose (Katherine Ross), a dour woman with an unhappy marriage. Nora doesn't care for Rose, and Rose doesn't like having children in her house; when Rose discovers that Nora is writing a short story based on her family's troubles, she forbids her to submit it for a literary competition sponsored by Seventeen Magazine. Nora responds with the threat of blackmail, promising to reveal the truth about Rose's extramarital affairs to her husband unless she can publish the story. Home Before Dark marked the feature debut for writer and director Maureen Foley.
aunt, blackmail, depression, family, mental-institution, story, extramarital-affair, assassination