Home, James is a whirring, stirring interpersonal dramedy dealing with such themes as love, differences versus similarities and — above all the concept of home.
A few chance encounters turn into a blistering love affair for Tulsa photographer James (co-writer, director Jonanthan Rossettti) and eternal party girl Cooper (Kerry Knuppe). But the story is a lot more complex than that. Cooper is moving to New York in a month, while James wants to stay in Tulsa, where he still has a life and a chance to make something of his art.
So the plot sets into motion a classic ultimatum for its main character: he can go to New York with his whirlwind lover or stay in Tulsa — his home. James is reluctant, and so an understanding is met between the two that what they have is only a temporary fling. But James is in love. Eventually, in a fit of depression and confusion — aided by alcohol — James lashes out at his friends, cancels his upcoming gallery, and finally agrees to join Cooper in New York.
This sudden and jarring turn of character is the only really weak point in Home, James. James seemingly changes in the snap of a finger into a different person, and then back again — apologies all around, of course. What we end up with, ultimately, is an audience who has learned not to trust it’s main character, someone they are supposed to identify with.
Yes, it is true that love sickness can change people, James’ turnover isn’t completely out of this universe. But I feel the filmmakers left too much of his course to the dark side to internal conflict. The audience doesn’t fully see what James is feeling, they just witness the result. It is jarring, but shortly after that little hiccup, the film wastes no time in regaining its footing.
Home, James is a beautiful film, not only visually but thematically. James takes photographs of the city with a vintage, dual frame Canon. Thus the film, even the title, is built on juxtaposition. The side by side pairing of two entities form a greater (or diminished) whole.
James and Cooper are entirely different, but something sparks when they’re next to each other — like one of James’ photographs.
The film is also buoyed by a strong supporting cast which brings many of the comedic moments into the film, but is also believable enough to be taken seriously when things get… serious. Rick Dacey and Julie Gearhead (co-writer) play two friends of James who also engage in a budding romance throughout the events of the film.
For my money Home, James is easily the winner of deadCENTER 2013 thus far. A stirring, emotional, hilarious and — most importantly — honest vision of the complexities and deceptive simplicity of love and the bliss of finding one’s place in the world.