Written and directed by Hallie Meyers-Shyer, the mid-life coming-of-age story Home Again stars Reese Witherspoon as a freshly-turned forty year old who’s struggling as she acclimates to life after separating from her husband. Making the move from New York with her two adorable daughters, Witherspoon’s character, Alice Kinney, escapes to her late father’s home in Los Angeles, ready for a fresh start.
Putting her daughters’ best interests above her own, Alice fears the separation will have drastic effects on her daughters. Her oldest daughter Isabel, played by Lola Flanery, is a bundle of nerves with more knowledge about possible ways to assuage her fears than your average fifth graders know. Her youngest daughter Rosie, played by Eden Grace Redfield, is seriously the cutest kid ever.
When a birthday celebration with friends turns from a classy dinner out to a throwback to her twenties, Alice meets three filmmakers from New York. Fast forward to the next morning, where the trio of filmmakers wake up at Alice’s home, and then continue fast forwarding to that evening when they continue to be her unlikely house guests. (Everyone in the theater could be heard laughing as Alice seemingly loses control of her own home.)
If Alice thought her life was complicated before blowing out the candles, then the next day’s events would clearly make her think things had taken a turn for the worse, right? Turns out, not so much. Her unexpected roommates, all in their twenties, have a profound impact on not only her life, but her daughters’ lives as well.
Pico Alexander (Harry), Nat Wolff (Teddy), and Jon Rudnitsky (George) play the struggling cinematic artists, who are beyond appreciative of Alice’s hospitality. From the moment they met at the bar on Alice’s birthday, a strong sexual tension exists between Alice and Harry. Will Alice give in to her desires, or will she keep Harry at bay just because he’s a younger man? With each passing day that Harry, Teddy, and George spend with Alice and her girls, they become more a part of the family, forging friendships with Isabel and Rosie, and awakening desires in Alice that she had resigned herself to no longer feel. Oh, and if the addition of twenty-somethings into her life isn’t already enough of a curveball, Alice’s estranged husband Austen, played by Michael Sheen, isn’t convinced their marriage is over.
I’ve always been a Reese Witherspoon fan, adoring her in Legally Blonde and Sweet Home Alabama. While people often compare Witherspoon to a Barbie doll, she reminds me more of Barbie’s kid sister Skipper. Barbie is supposed to be a fashion paragon while Skipper, equally beautiful but in a less sophisticated way, seems more down to Earth. Witherspoon’s performance was exactly what I expected, and she kept me entertained. One aspect I really appreciated about her in Home Again actually had nothing to do with her acting. I loved that she played a forty year old who looked like a forty year old, complete with early signs of crow’s-feet. Still in my early forties, I’ve noticed that male actors are allowed to age gracefully while their female counterparts aren’t, and it was refreshing to note that Alice’s character seemed legit.
While I know that Harry is supposed to be the character who makes viewers swoon, it was honestly George’s character who gave me the feelings. It’s funny how what we deem as attractive changes as we age, isn’t it? Don’t get me wrong, Harry is all kinds of handsome, but George really listens, is compassionate, and, above all else, really gets the big picture of what Alice is going through at this point in her life.
My friend Dani, who attended the movie with me, liked the film, but was a bit put off by how picture perfect everyone and everything was. Alice’s home, a Spanish style rancher, is the kind of home one would expect to find on HGTV. Of the movie she shared, “It was really cute and really sweet, and I loved how it drives home the idea that you never know who you’re going to meet. I was trying to imagine in real life if that type of situation could ever exist without a whole lot of money. I don’t think so, which left me feeling like it was a little too fake. Even so, the movie was still adorable. Everyone was so nice and kind, and there wasn’t one character that I disliked.”
As we left the theater, I met Bobbi, who summarized that Home Again is “darling.” She explained, “I thought the movie was very well done. It was humorous with some sad moments too. It was perfect.”
Movie times: click here
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance
Director: Hallie Meyers-Shyer
Actors: Reese Witherspoon, Nat Wolff, Lake Bell
Running Time: 1 hour 37 minutes
Rating: Rated PG-13 for some thematic and sexual material