Review: ‘Home’

"Home" modestly observes a rural French's family's stubborn bid to stay put as high-speed life -- in the form of a new expressway -- paves the path to eventual displacement.

A road movie sans travel, “Home” modestly observes a rural French’s family’s stubborn bid to stay put as high-speed life — in the form of a new expressway — paves the path to eventual displacement. Typically sharp work by d.p. Agnes Godard and lead thesp Isabelle Huppert lends momentum to a drama whose static stretches and non-nouveau take on the threat of modernity could limit migration beyond presold Euro turf.

The relatively calm matriarch of a five-member bohemian clan, Huppert’s Marthe bums cigs from serially sunbathing, death-metal-blasting eldest daughter Judith (Adelaide Leroux), whose lounge chair sits only few yards from buzz-killing Route E57. Younger kids and stressed-out service-worker dad (Olivier Gourmet) deal with paradise lost according to age and gender, while Marthe devolves from a “c’est la vie” demeanor to the kind of hyper-emotional freakout that too often afflicts Gallic-cinema femmes. Still, director Ursula Meier generally distinguishes her feature debut by not pushing elements to melodramatic or farcical extremes. The requisite traffic-jam incident finds Godard cleverly tipping her lens to namesake Jean-Luc (“Weekend”), while a gradual depletion of natural light from the frame serves the pic’s aptly darkening view of progress.




A Diaphana Distribution release (in France) of a Box Prods. (Switzerland)/Archipel 35 (France)/Need Prods. (Belgium) presentation, in co-production with France 3 Cinema, Television Suisse Romande, SRG SSR Idee Suisse, RTBF, with support of Eurimages. (International sales: Memento Films Intl., Paris.) Produced by Elena Tatti, Thierry Spicher, Denis Freyd, Denis Delcampe. Directed by Ursula Meier. Screenplay, Meier, Antoine Jaccoud, Raphaelle Valbrune, Gilles Taurand, Olivier Lorelle, in collaboration with Alice Winocour.


Camera (color), Agnes Godard; editors, Susana Rossberg, Francois Gedigier, Nelly Quettier. Reviewed at Cannes Film Festival (Critics' Week), May 18, 2008. Running time: 98 MIN.


Isabelle Huppert, Olivier Gourmet, Adelaide Leroux, Madeleine Budd, Kacey Mottet Klein.

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