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By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
A Home of Our Own
Directed by Tony Bill
MGM Home Entertainment 11/93 DVD/VHS Feature Film
PG - some mild language, violence in a family drama
Frances Lacey and her six children live in Los Angeles where she works on an assembly line. When she is fired for protesting sexual harassment by a manager, she decides to head out for new territory. The year is 1962 and when the Lacey clan comes across an empty shack on a hill in Idaho, Frances knows in her heart that they've found a place they can make a home of their own.
While the kids do chores in exchange for the rent of the house from Mr. Munimura, the landlord, Frances works at a bowling alley as a waitress. Her best tips are practical items such as a pair of pliers. Although a priest from the local Catholic church offers the family clothes and other items they desperately need, Frances steadfastly refuses his charity. She's a stubborn woman whose pride gets in the way of the best interests of her children. This aspect of her personality draws out the ire of Shayne, her eldest son, who also resents being "the man of the house." It takes a tragedy to open Frances' eyes to the fact that it's no sin to accept the help of others.
A Home of Our Own is based on a true story by Patrick Duncan. Kathy Bates is formidable as the ever resourceful and strong-willed Frances, a single mother who handles poverty and repeated setbacks with the equanimity of a long-distance runner. Edward Furlong is fine as her eldest son who also narrates the film.
Tony Bill has a knack for finding small, idiosyncratic, and heartwarming films to direct. Those who savored the small miracles in My Bodyguard, Crazy People, and Untamed Heart will definitely appreciate the moral undertow of A Home of Our Own. In the end, the film points out that receiving graciously is as important as giving to others.
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by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
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