Chris Smith, Stuart Wolff, Barbara Joy Laffey, Susanne Preissler, Hubert Taczanowski, Jun Diaz
Chris Smith’s previous two films to play at the Sundance Film Festival, American Job and American Movie, demonstrated his uncanny knack, whether in fiction or documentary, for revealing the true nature of people in various situations and as various characters. In Home Movie, he takes that talent and uses it to present a compelling depiction of five extremely different but equally quirky “homes,” both the literal and figurative kinds.
The film provides an entrance into the abodes and psyches of people set apart by their living conditions but connected through their desire for the unusual and their drive to attain it. There’s Bill Tregle, who lives on a houseboat in Louisiana; technical wizard Ben Skora and Darlene Satrinano, who live in a house full of homemade gadgets; Ed and Diana Pedan, who have transformed an abandoned missile silo into a home; Bob Walker and Francis Mooney, who have taken the term “catpeople” to a whole new level; and Linda Beech, who lives in a remote tree house.
Spanning thousands of miles and five different states, Home Movie is not only about the bizarre living arrangements of these extraordinary people but also their equally compelling personalities. It is Smith’s warmth, intelligence, and sense of humor, to which people respond and willingly open up their doors and hearts, that makes the film a success. At times absurd and at others poignant and subtly revealing, Home Movie demonstrates how each of us defines, and is defined by, our environment.