A Home of Our Own
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Despite its sentimentality and made-for-TV look, "A Home Of Our Own" manages to rise above its run-of-the-mill roots. Though in some ways this is merely a formulaic family drama about city kids transplanted to the country, there's something else going on that gives it an edge.
A sense of gritty reality permeates Kathy Bates' central performance as Frances Lacey, a strong-willed, poverty-stricken widow with six kids who vows to keep the family together while trying to forge a better life.
This is a character that could have been all squishy and soft at the center. But Bates plays her as being angry at the cards she's been dealt, and she doesn't intend to take life lying down. Bates forcefully demonstrates how Frances' desire for a home causes her to lose sight of her children's needs, and even allows the character to become rather obnoxious at times. Yet we never doubt her love for her children, nor her moral center.
Bates gets help from the solid cast of child actors, as well, who behave much more like normal kids than most youngsters we see in Hollywood films. Four of the young actors — Clarissa Lassig, Sarah Shaub, T.J. Lowther, Miles Feulner — are Salt Lake kids. (Lassig stands out here, utterly convincing and with a wonderfully expressive face.)
Shot primarily in the Heber Valley area, the story begins in 1962, as Frances and her brood (which she refers to as the "Lacey Tribe") are living in Los Angeles.
There, she is a victim of sexual harassment and loses her job, and her oldest son (Edward Furlong, of "Terminator 2: Judgment Day") is on the fast track to delinquency.
So, she packs up the kids and what few belongings they have into their run-down Plymouth, and they head for parts unknown, eventually settling in Idaho — as much because their car is giving out as because Frances feels "this is the place."
There, they are befriended by Mr. Munimura, an Asian landowner (Soon-Teck Oh) who works out a deal for them to buy and repair a broken-down shack on his property, in exchange for helping him keep up his own home.
In episodic fashion, the film chronicles their misadventures, some comic and some tragic, as they attempt to blend in with neighbors, overcome their poverty and work at building their home.
By the way, that's Tony Campisi, Bates' real-life husband, as the manager of the bowling alley who hits on Frances.
The screenplay, by Patrick Duncan ("84 Charlie Mopic"), and direction, by Tony Bill ("Untamed Heart," "My Bodyguard"), are strong most of the way, though there is an occasional lapse into a sentimental, Hollywoodized view of life.
And the Utah locations are shown off quite nicely, — subbing for Idaho, of course. Local moviegoers will spot plenty of local actors in supporting roles, including H.E.D. Redford, Michael Flynn and Jeff Olsen.
"A Home of Our Own" is rated PG for profanity and violence.
November 5th, 1993 · Details