Home Again breaks down gender barriers

Reese Witherspoon film a less cheesy chick flick than the norm

When I read the synopsis for “Home Again”, I expected it to be a cheesy movie, and when a friend mentioned she wanted to go see it, I was hesitant.

I’ve said this in my review last year of “La La Land,” but chick flicks are typically not my first choice when it comes to movies.

But I believe directors are getting better with their content in some of their movies. Or maybe it is because I am more willing to give these movies a chance rather than a firm flat-out refusal.

It may have also resonated with me because “Home Again” glimpsed into how the filmmaking business is in Hollywood through characters and in the plotline. In fact, a joke is made later on in the movie: “We would like to make really good movies again.”

Another specific reason is that the main character, Alice Kinney (Reese Witherspoon) is trying to piece her identity back together after a divorce. “Home Again” entails through emotion and Witherspoon’s acting how much of a challenge that is, even in modern-day society.

In her own background, Alice Kinney grew up with a fictional famous filmmaker, John Kinney as her father, who excelled in his profession but not so much in his personal life. Her parents divorced when she was four but John still showed interest in her life, especially when it came to her day.

Fast forward to years later when she has two young girls of her own and she separates from her husband Austen. She is designing her website and in her mini biography, she free-writes a description of herself as newly separated and depressed.

She has friends and business partners who are trying to set her up with dates but she knows from the stress she currently faces, that it is not a good idea.

Ultimately and fatally, she meets three guys in the film world who are an aspiring scriptwriter, producer, and actor. They each come with their own needs and baggage, including a place to stay.

In the film, there are two important points that the character Alice brings up. First is her own confession that at 25, she may have not made the best decision when she was young. What is best about the confession is that she is in the room where she has preserved her dad’s original scripts and clips.

The other point is when she comments about the difference between men and women in that men can do whatever they want whereas women have to think about more responsibility, so they meditate on the consequences and make pros and cons lists.

Aside from Alice, I saw growth in the men in the film business and in Alice’s two girls, both separately in what they contribute to each other in their one-on-one relationships. George, the script writer, sees that the oldest girl is struggling with anxiety and depression and encourages her in her dreams.

At the same time, he also realizes he needs to take some of that confidence for himself.

I think sometimes society places too heavy a burden on women to bear most of the responsibility of rearing children. It is an unspoken conflict, that women fall into nurturing roles because they feel an obligation to or they have insecurities that they cannot be anything else.

In my Film Genres class, we have brought up how women are portrayed in earlier movies compared to how they are now. I think the same may be said about men. Men do not have to be macho and aloof because they feel their own obligation in that their profession comes first.

Overall, “Home Again” broke down the gender barriers, in that a man can show a soft side and raise kids and a woman can pursue her own profession without guilt. A relationship, especially when it consists of a family unit, is healthier when both are present and both make the sacrifices for each other at different times.

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