OUR HOME HERE Trailer from Angela Chen on Vimeo.
For more than a few reasons, Angela Chen's short film, "Our Home Here" really hit its mark with me. This is a story that especially recently, has popped up in one form or another all over the place. Like cancer, you simply can't avoid it. You can't close your eyes, or lock yourself away because those actions help it grow - and Chen's short film serves up a heaping dish of homegrown reality brothers and sisters. No question about that.
Although not downright stated in the description, "Our Home Here" deals mainly with three topics. Racism, fear, and yes reader, even hate. That's not saying the story doesn't deviate now and again, but the topics handled can all be broken down into one of these three categories. Maybe even multiple. We have an angry young man who seemingly has had his dreams of joining the Marines shattered, leaving his older sister to attempt to help this mess of a man. His fear stems from the new reality of his situation, and hers the same. What's next for both of them? Will she now be completely responsible for him? Forever? And for him, how can he protect his sister when he can't even protect himself? Fear.
Now consider a middle-aged woman far from home, attempting to live the American dream - as her son almost begs her to come home over the phone. She flat out refuses, she's doing well here she tells him. Putting away the cash for a house of her own, their own. Only, she isn't doing well at all and making matters worse? A new hire, barely a week into the job is probably getting that promotion she deserves. The reasons become somewhat clear a little later, but aside from said reasons, there's also a few off-hand remarks and actions that point to only one thing. Racism.
Finally, we have the instigator of this entire story. An angry, intoxicated man who is so full of hate he simply can't live with himself. His story is a little less clear but since he acts more as a match to a fire, that's all right. I won't go into any more details for fear of destroying the entire plot, but yes reader, this is a powerful short film. One that doesn't shy away from telling it how it is.
Normally this second section is reserved for a technical write up. Not this time because quite frankly? This film looks and sounds great. It's paced out nicely and truth be told? I have no complaints. "Our Home Here" is a slick and polished production. No question about that. I could write that the acting, from everyone involved, is excellent. But I believe my rating reflects that quite nicely.
So, what's really left to say? Angela Chen has written and directed a piece that says so much, in such a short time. What's interesting is that the nuances of this film could be debated, taken in slightly different ways. Like any good production, you have the overall story and characters - but the fine details may change from person to person. I may find this film more about racial tensions, you may find it more comfortably fits the, "Chasing the American dream like a dog chasing its tail." How you see it isn't really the point, just be sure to actually see it for yourself and make up your own mind. "Our Home Here" is the entire package, period.