Home Is Where the Heart Is
by Phil Boatwright

New to DVD on Aug 19, 2014. Director: Rajeev Dassani. Writer: Conrad Goode. Cast: Bailee Madison, Laura Bell Bundy, Conrad Goode, Jonathan Banks, John C. McGinley
FILM SYNOPSIS:  Disillusioned actress Sunny returns to her hometown of Bent Arrow, Texas, to attend her mother’s funeral and provide guardianship for a half-sister she never knew, 10-year-old Cotton. The dusty old town is struggling to stay alive, and provides solace for an ex-NFL player, Butch, who is coping with a heart-wrenching loss of his own. Sunny and Butch bond over their mutual relationship with Cotton, and come up with a plan to help save the town. When tragedy strikes, their plans are derailed, but hope glimmers in the distance.

PREVIEW REVIEW: During the opening sequences, I was reminded of a film I viewed earlier this year, Angels in Stardust, about a young woman stuck in a dying town. This in turn reminded me of the Peter Bogdanovich Oscar-winning The Last Picture Show. That led to remembrances of several other films attempting to tell a parable set in a dying town. The theme has become ensconced into a sub-genre, with mixed results. Some attempts hit, some miss. I’m glad to say, Home Is Where the Heart Is knocks it out of the park.

Though I would hesitate to call it a spiritually impacting movie, there does seem to a spiritual awareness found in several characters. What the film does share is the need for human support. In an age when we are so disconnected until tragedy rears its ugly head, this film reminds us that with hope in the heart and someone who calls you friend, a life is not only bearable, but satisfying.

Retitled from Watercolor Postcards during its 2013 theatrical run, Home Is Where the Heart Is is bolstered by great supporting actors and an especially a touching performance by young Bailee Madison. The film goes beyond the Texas-desert town clichés, reminding us of the powers of hope and love. It’s a mixture of comedy and drama, but don’t look for the conventional happy ending. This one will surprise and haunt you, much the way the epilogue did before To Kill a Mockingbird’s fadeout.

There are other films with the same title, so be sure of the cast in this one when selecting it.

Caution: While there are uplifting messages, there are also elements (listed below) that would keep it from being shown in a church. The sad moments may not be suitable for children under 12 and the brief but steamy sexual encounters may be objectionable to those who prefer their romance movies to fade from a kiss and embrace a bit faster.

Reviewer: Phil Boatwright 
Running Time: 115 min.
Rated: PG-13 (there are several minor expletives throughout, but I caught no harsh obscenity or profaning of God’s name; there is much drinking, as some of the film centers around bar life and others use alcohol to anesthetize their troubles; a man is seriously injured; there are a couple of deaths of loved ones; there are a couple of sexual situations, one taking place as the couple skinny dip in a pool, though the camera avoids nudity; the sexual scenes, which take place before marriage, are brief but somewhat graphic; a woman struggles with a use of pills until she sees where it’s leading; she also is seen smoking).