Rojin Thomas’s Home promises a heart-warming experience and achieves both a heart-warming and seat-warming experience. The Malayalam drama on Amazon Prime Video comes in at an extended two hours and 41 minutes, delivering feel-good vibes, observational comedy and homilies about life and family.
The storytelling is as unhurried and old-fashioned as the hero, a techno-illiterate man who has fallen behind in the age of the smartphone and social media. Oliver (Indrans) lives with his father (Kainakary Thankaraj), wife Kuttiyamma (Manju Pillai) and son Charles (Naslen) in Thiruvanthapuram. Oliver’s older son Anthony (Sreenath Bhasi) is a filmmaker struggling to complete his second movie.
Suffering from writer’s block, easily distracted by the pings and beeps emanating ever so often from his phone, and anxious about his impending marriage to girlfriend Priya (Deepa Thomas), Anthony fails to notice his father’s fumbling attempts to reach out to him. Anthony’s dismissive attitude towards the nondescript and frequently tongue-tied Oliver is in stark contrast with his admiration for Priya’s high-achieving father Joseph (Sreekanth Murali).
Wounded by his son’s open contempt and Charles’s occasional sneering, Oliver pours out his woes to his hypochondriac childhood friend Suryan (Johny Antony). Oliver’s attempts to master the mysteries of the smartphone lead to a series of misadventures that are embarrassing for Anthony but revelatory for Oliver.
Thomas’s screenplay plays out like a limited-episode series crunched into a movie. Home attempts to reach a meeting point between rootedness and individualism, personal contact and the new-fangled but distancing seductions of the smartphone.
Gentle comedy about human foibles is balanced with folksy wisdom about the importance of family ties. Oliver Twist’s journey of self-discovery and his own back story (including the one about his unusual name) prove that he is more hip than square, despite what his son thinks.
Thomas treats deep wounds with a bandage that has a smiley stuck on it. A less cheerful movie might have been more harsh on Anthony, who often comes off as being obnoxious to Oliver. Even Anthony’s girlfriend suffers the blast of his disdain – a situation that resolves itself without any damage to Anthony.
With compromise rather than confrontation in mind, Home focuses on creating relatable situations and amplifying the excellent chemistry between the ensemble set of actors. The movie’s hero is unmistakably Indrans, one of cinema’s finest chameleons.
Indrans’s superlative performance is both understated and attention-grabbing, minimalist in gesture and expression and maximalist in impact. The rest of the cast is on a roll too, helping Home reach its destination despite its numerous detours.