“Home Again” opens in a flurry of bad acting and generic writing that leaves viewers mildly concerned about the two-hour commitment they made when they purchased the ticket. It bears all the hallmarks of a “mom movie,” making it very clear to whom its plot was intended. The movie centers on a now-aged (40-year-old) Reese Witherspoon starring as Alice, a down-on-her-luck, newly separated mother of two, at odds with the familiar scenario of an inattentive ex-husband and the challenge of starting over in her childhood home. Even the main plot point bears an uncanny resemblance to “Mama Mia”: A chance meeting brings her little family of three into what can only be described as a single mother’s dream; the emergence of three, wonderful father figures.
That meeting, though, is where the film begins to pick up the audience’s attention. The trio of similarly down-on-their-luck, 27-year-old filmmakers (Harry, George, and Teddy) that stumble into Alice’s life are incredibly likeable. Harry (Pico Alexander) is an insanely attractive, flirtatious guy, who genuinely cares for Alice, in spite of their age difference. George (Jon Rudnitsky) acts as a lovesick pool of support, that becomes a source of inspiration for Alice’s eldest daughter. Teddy (Nat Wolff), the only one that manages to escape falling for Alice, claims at one point that he just loves her family. The three, as one unit, are the perfect dad. Their surprisingly unconditional love for Alice and her kids is adorable in its pureness. The greatest strength of this movie is its ability to get the audience attached to its characters. Every surge of overprotectiveness, every little encouraging side talk, every idyllic familial moment, makes viewers grow more and more invested in this slightly unorthodox family.
If the overwhelming sweetness of this family dynamic wasn’t enough, the movie made up for it in equally adorable friendships. The sheer loyalty Harry, George and Teddy display towards each other, and of course to Alice, is immense. Their shared vision of their short film becoming a full-length feature is marked by small personal conflicts, possibly just to make their unrealistically cohesive relationship more feasible. Even amidst their little differences, at least one of them is always there to offer their support to the other. In essence, the only troubles they come across in their friendship spring from a fear of growing apart. They need each other, and the audience can’t help but to eat that up.
Despite questionable dialogue like “I quit, because you cheated on me with the fancy, stylish woman” and “Wow, you’re so maternal, Alice, you should be a mom,” “Home Again” manages to be a fantastic feel-good movie. Ultimately, it works to restore a faith in relationships that many audience members lack. There’s something enticing about this group of people that have each other’s backs. In a world where 50 percent of marriages end in divorce, this movie provides a breath of fresh air, and what seems to resemble hope.
Rebecca Maher is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at email@example.com.