Michel (Olivier Gourmet) and his wife Marthe (Isabelle Huppert) are nonconformists who have consciously chosen to live as far away from others as possible. They have a house in the French countryside alongside a highway that has been left uncompleted for ten years. Their kids have chosen different ways of adapting to their lifestyle: Judith (Adelaide Leroux) puts on a bikini, turns on loud music, and sunbathes; Marion (Madeleine Budd) does mathematical games to keep herself amused; and Julien (Kacey Mottet Klein) rides his bike on the highway and loves his little pool.
One day, unexpectedly, construction workers appear on the scene and start laying down tar and lines down the center of the highway. On the day of its opening, a radio announcer celebrates how much easier this will make life for drivers. So begins the nightmare for this closely bonded family used to privacy and the silence of the natural world.
Marthe is the one most seriously deranged by the noise pollution of trucks and cars whizzing by at all hours of the day and night. She can't sleep and quickly becomes very irritable. Judith gets angry at the intruders but tries to shut them out with her music. She eventually runs away from home, fed up with this new development. Marion focuses on the problem of pollution and starts worrying about the toxic effect of all the cars and trucks on their bodies. She tries to scare Julien by checking his back for signs of poisoning. Michel purchases insulation for the house and then barricades the place shut with concrete bricks. It works for a while by blocking out the noise but they all suffer from claustrophobia.
Home is written and directed by Ursula Meier, and it is a very clever and creative film with its probes on family solidarity, change, the toxic residues of a car culture, and the physical, psychological and spiritual effects of noise pollution. In an idyllic scene, Marthe, Marion, and Julien escape the din and retreat to the countryside where they spend a quiet afternoon sleeping and sitting under a tree. In another, Michel unsuccessfully tries to drag his family from their home and force them to move. They refuse.
In an interview, Meier quotes Taiwanese director Tsai Ming-liang who once said: "When we are in an extreme tragic situation, there is no escape, we are trapped. And that's when we manage to set ourselves free, that's when we find the strength to react."
Special features on the DVD include "Sleepless" — a short film by Ursula Meier; interview with Ursula Meier and cinematographer Agnes Godard; the theatrical trailer; and stills gallery.