HOME AGAIN – review

I have a huge soft spot for The Holiday and The Intern, so when I found out the producers of those two movies were producing a new movie starring Resse Witherspoon, I was ecstatic! I had extremely high hopes for this movie since the other two are my guilty pleasure. While the writer and director of Home Again is different from the other two, they do run in the same family. (Literally. Halle Meyers-Shyer is the daughter of Nancy Meyers, the writer and director of the other two.)
The movie starts with Alice (Whitherspoon) giving a voice-over recap of her life with her Hollywood family and how her dad always made her birthday a very important day. Now Alice is turning 40, her dad is no longer with her, and her life is not exactly where she wants it to be. She is separated from her husband (Martin Sheen) both legally and by the span of the country and is a single mother to two young girls coping with their new home and family dynamics. While out celebrating her 40th with friends, Alice meets Harry, a young twenty-something up-and-coming film director, and his film partners. What was supposed to be a one night fling, begins the whole story.
I did my research on this film before I went and saw it, so I knew one of the themes of the movie was addressing the double standards towards women. Do not worry I am not going to rant about this. But I will say that even though I am a twenty-something, there are a few parts that resonated with me. At one part early on in the film, Alice says, “I don’t want to be one of those women who thinks every one of their hobbies can be a business.” I think every woman (and probably men too) has that one friend who always has a business venture going based on their hobby. Another part I enjoyed was Alice’s drunken rant about how women overthink things, which I had oddly had a similar conversation earlier in the day about the same topic. There are a lot of small details in this film that were nice to see portrayed on the big screen. 
Now the one topic I did not talk about above was the age gap between Alice and Harry. In the beginning of the film, Alice talks about how her dad was 20+ years older than her mom. Then later in the film, there is the 13 year age difference between Alice and Harry. the first is typically more acceptable in our culture and this movie was made with that double standard in mind. Quite honestly, I would have liked to see this double standard played out a little more. Alice does not face very much criticism for dating a younger man from anyone other than herself, and the way the scenario is laid out, I’m pretty sure Alice would have been hard on herself for dating any man. The issue of women dating younger men often is an inner issue, but a little more of facing the double standard head on would have brought more attention to the issue. 
Overall, I give Home Again a B. I will probably buy it when it comes out on DVD, because like I said, it is my guilty pleasure. The young guys in the movie are cute (major eye candy there), and Alice’s two daughters are even more adorable. This movie just lacked the mentor character I loved in The Internand The Holiday. Yes, you can learn something from Alice and Harry in their different life stages and overcoming their age difference, but it just does not live up to Jules and Ben or Arthur and Iris. I know it is not fair to compare Halle Meyers-Shyer to her mother, but when your mom is the queen of Rom-Com, you have some big shoes to fill! 
Mary Herries

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