Home (2008)

Director: Ursula Meier
Writer: Ursula Meier, Antoine Jaccoud, Raphaëlle Desplechin, Gilles Taurand, Olivier Lorelle, Alice Winocour
Cast: Isabelle Huppert, Olivier Gourmet, Adélaïde Leroux, Madeleine Budd, Kacey Mottet Klein
Seen on: 11.4.2021

Marthe (Isabelle Huppert), Michel (Olivier Gourmet) and their children Judith (Adélaïde Leroux), Marion (Madeleine Budd) and Julien (Kacey Mottet Klein) live right next to a piece of unfinished highway. The highway has remained unfinished for a decade and has become their personal playground, separating them from their mailbox and the road that lead to the next town. Much to their surprise, though, overnight the highway is finished and opened, completely disrupting the life they built together.

Home is an intriguing film with an unusual setting that grows increasingly more absurd and remains captivating throughout. I really enjoyed it.

The film poster showing Marthe (Isabelle Huppert) standing in her kitchen with a truck rushing past just outside her window. Behind her on the lawn is her daughter Judith (Adélaïde Leroux) giving the truck the finger.

Right from the start it is clear that the family in Home isn’t exactly your run-of-the-mill suburban family, and not just because they live in an unusual spot. They are all a little weird (all of the cast perfectly chosen for their roles), but they are happy and they have made their life just so. Until it is utterly disrupted by progress, by the “normals” that suddenly drive literally through their life.

They try to take it with humor at first, try to resist, but they can’t – the noise, the pollution, it is too incessant to be ignored, too destructive to be turned around. That leaves them with very few options. They could move away, leave the house they built, the garden they are constantly working on, even leave their weirdness behind and assimilate. The very thought seems impossible, especially to Marthe.

Marthe (Isabelle Huppert) leading her two younger children Marion (Madeleine Budd) and Julien (Kacey Mottet Klein) across the empty highway.

Instead they try to work around the highway, withdrawing from it and everything it represents. They isolate the house, they isolate themselves. But this withdrawal is suffocating and destroys their home just as much as the highway.

In the end, things are so absurd, it is unclear what really happens. The ending is ambiguous – is it a good or bad ending for them? They break free, but it is unclear at what cost and to what end. Still, there is a sense of hope that feels entirely fitting for this strange film.

Marthe (Isabelle Huppert) leading her two younger children Marion (Madeleine Budd) and Julien (Kacey Mottet Klein) across the highway during a traffic jam with picknick gear.

Summarizing: wonderful.

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