THE GENERAL IDEA
At first the slice of life indie drama “A Country Called Home” seems to be trying too hard to be indelible. But I found as I let this small town tale of self-discovery and lives recalibrated gently play itself out I came to understand what Director and Co-Writer Anna Axster is doing with her gentle story. That is, to not try to impress you as much as impress upon you what the different definitions of family and the path to one’s destiny can be. Axster’s is simply one of any number of takes on this tale. And in the end it is a most caring and enlightening journey to which we have been treated.
This is the first time I’ve seen the work of the film’s star Imogen Poots. The strikingly beautiful young actress exudes a unique screen presence. Poots brings a naturally relaxed manner to her role of the rudderless twenty-something Ellie, who leaves a spirit sinking existence in L.A. to pay her respects at the funeral of an estranged father she never really knew.
While, once again, it took some time, I gradually settled in to appreciate her easygoing way with this character cast adrift in a world weary with disappointment. Suffice to say that here is a gifted performer now situated solidly on my radar.
Not a big fan of the term “mumblecore”. But if ever there was occasion to use it, this would be it.
It was so hard to make out what the principle characters were saying to each other so much of the time I actually had to resort to captioning so as not to miss out on what was being communicated. As “A Country Called Home” is a movie that is almost exclusively character and dialogue-driven this is a decidedly distracting misstep that can only be reasonably regarded as both confounding and perplexing.
Finally, major props to Axster and her magnificent depiction of small town Texas. I grew up in The Lone Star State, and have personally been to all three of the humble hamlets collectively serving as the sleepy, if not at least somewhat sad, setting for “A Country Called Home”. I could almost literally smell the air thick with the distinct scents of ranch field brush and oak trees, all the while being cast back to the oppressive heat and humidity inherent in this extraordinarily ordinary part of our country.
And, pardner, y’all best understand that these are memories just as mighty and everlastin’ as the sweet sweltering Texas summer itself.
A visit to
- Acting - 7/107/10
- Cinematography - 8/108/10
- Plot/Screenplay - 7/107/10
- Setting/Theme - 9/109/10
- Buyability - 5/105/10
- Recyclability - 6/106/10