A Mother's Struggle To Find 'Home' — And Self

Marcia Gay Harden and Eulala Scheel i i

Real life mother-and-daughter team Marcia Gay Harden and Eulala Scheel bring authenticity to Mary Haverstick's semi-autobiographical drama. hide caption

itoggle caption
Marcia Gay Harden and Eulala Scheel

Real life mother-and-daughter team Marcia Gay Harden and Eulala Scheel bring authenticity to Mary Haverstick's semi-autobiographical drama.

Home

  • Director: Mary Haverstick
  • Genre: Family drama
  • Running Time: 84 minutes

PG-13: Disturbing thematic material.

Marcia Gay Harden i i

As her marriage unravels, Inga (Marcia Gay Harden) attempts to drown her sorrows. Monterey Media Inc. hide caption

itoggle caption Monterey Media Inc.
Marcia Gay Harden

As her marriage unravels, Inga (Marcia Gay Harden) attempts to drown her sorrows.

Monterey Media Inc.

A mother and child contend with commonplace dilemmas in Home, a showcase for actress Marcia Gay Harden and her actual daughter, Eulala Scheel.

Writer-director Mary Haverstick's semi-autobiographical drama may well touch viewers with some personal connection to the story, but it doesn't transcend its anecdotal elements.

Set primarily in Pennsylvania's Amish country in 1969, the movie begins with Inga (Harden) and 8-year-old Indigo (Scheel) in a field, watching clouds shift shapes.

"Change can be wonderful," proclaims mom. "But it never is," her daughter replies.

The kid's got a point. Inga recently had a mastectomy, and her marriage is unraveling as her husband broods about his declining business. Both Inga and Hermann (Michael Gaston) drink too much, and then either fight or sulk.

Wiser than either of them — if not altogether plausible as a character — Indigo has taken to pouring her mother's booze down the drain.

Although flashbacks suggest that Inga's childhood was far from happy, the woman has decided to re-create it. She wants to buy a local farmhouse that resembles her long-demolished childhood home. Hermann says they don't have the money. Indigo, meanwhile, claims the place is haunted.

The girl must be right. She's right about everything.

If Inga won't listen to her own child, perhaps she can be swayed by the movie's voice-overs, which offer poems by Mary Scott Haverstick, the director's late mother. Sample insight: "I am. Are you?" Neil Diamond couldn't have said it better.

The message of this self-actualization parable is that Inga needs to escape her life and become herself. She must flee even the picturesque scenery and old-fashioned charm of York and Lancaster counties, lovingly rendered by lifelong resident Haverstick. (The filmmaker even devotes a scene to celebrating homemade Amish quilts.)

The only thing Inga can retain on her journey is her relationship with her daughter, which is the film's most appealing aspect.

Harden and Scheel may not exactly be acting when they portray their rapport, but they bring authenticity to a tale that sometimes seems forced. They're the real thing, even if the characters they play aren't quite.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and Terms of Use. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.