Movie Review: Home Again
Home Again is a modern romantic comedy and the latest feel good movie to hit the big screen. It is the directorial debut for Hallie Meyers-Shyer, daughter of director Nancy Meyers, and was also penned by Meyers-Shyer. The film centers on recently separated mother of two, Alice Kinney, portrayed by the lovely Reese Witherspoon (Sweet Home Alabama, Wild). The supporting cast also includes Nat Wolff (Paper Towns), Jon Rudnitsky (Saturday Night Live), Pico Alexander (Indignation), Michael Sheen (Underworld, Passengers), and Candice Bergen (Miss Congeniality, Bride Wars).
Home Again begins with Alice Kinney (Witherspoon) explaining via voiceover the background of her father, famed director John Kinney. In this voiceover, we learn how her parents met and about the life that Alice experienced growing up in Los Angeles. The film then jumps to present day on Alice’s 40th birthday. She has recently separated from her husband, Austin (Sheen), and has moved herself and her two daughters from New York back to her childhood home of Los Angeles. She goes out for her 40th birthday with some friends, which is how she meets three young, aspiring filmmakers: Harry (Alexander), George (Rudnitsky), and Teddy (Wolff). By the end of the night, the young men and several of her friends end up back at her place after a night of partying. The following morning Alice’s mother, Lillian (Bergen), stops by for Alice’s youngest daughter to pick up something for school. When the three young men meet Lillian, though, they recognize her from her days as an actress. A whole day spent together leaves Lillian suggesting that the three young men temporarily move into Alice’s guest house as they currently have no place to stay. Alice hesitantly agrees to the arrangement, and life becomes more complicated as Alice’s life intertwines with all three young men.
I’ll admit that I’m a bit of sucker sometimes for a feel good film, and I was sincerely looking forward to viewing this one. I know it’s Hallie Meyers-Shyer’s screenwriting and directorial debut, but I also knew that her mother had written and/or directed some of my favorite feel good films. She was just a producer on this project, but with film credits on Father of the Bride, The Holiday, and The Intern, I had high hopes. With that said, Home Again didn’t quite live up to my expectations. It was cute, but it was predictable and bit of a miss on the emotional moments at times. The premise and the dynamic of three men amongst one woman harkened me back to favorites such as Three Men and A Little Lady, but it somewhat missed the mark. The beginning narration about John Kinney also seemed pointless by the end of the film, which was a little irritating and disappointing.
I can say that it had some nice, humorous moments throughout the film, and it had some heart with Alice’s emotional journey. It’s ultimately a movie of her figuring out who she is now, but it lacks some of the depth I wanted to see. However, Reese Witherspoon completely steals the show, and in my opinion, she is as delightful as always to watch. She seemed to connect with this character, which translated into the film. The girls playing her daughters, Lola Flanery and Eden Grace Redfield, were both absolutely adorable and centered Witherspoon’s character. I also thought that Rudnitsky and Wolff were incredibly charming as they dote on Alice and her daughters. The main miss for me was unfortunately Pico Alexander’s Harry. In the trailers, it’s clear that he is Witherspoon’s love interest, but for the most part, his performance fell flat. He is too smooth and doesn’t hold his own in comparison to Witherspoon’s acting abilities. He has some great acting moments at the very end, which made me wonder where those performances had been for the first ninety minutes of the film.
While this movie did not quite live up to the hype, I do have high hopes for Hallie Meyers-Shyer in the future. She developed a story with a heartwarming premise and managed to highlight Alice’s personal growth and not just make it about a romantic relationship. Reese Witherspoon is definitely the high point of the film, and her interactions with these three young men are often funny and sweet. Overall, I would say Home Again is a cute movie you can skip in the theater and wait to rent on a rainy day.
Mollie is a film enthusiast, aspiring writer/screenwriter, and a lover of all things Harry Potter, Star Wars, and Doctor Who. She is the co-founder of The Digital Shore (@thedigitalshore) and Above The Line (@atl_movies). You can follow her many adventures through Twitter and Instagram at @mcbeach.