An intimate, intoxicating chamber piece about an all-night house party at a Brooklyn brownstone, Home perceptively details the niceties and nastiness of friendship, romance, and sexual affairs. With an off-the-cuff conversational tone, this debut from writer-director-editor Matt Zoller Seitz (film critic for New York Press) depicts the funny, boorish, and poignant goings-on at the crowded home of Rose (Erin Stacey Visslailli) and Susan (Nicol Zanzarella). There, partygoers argue, flirt, and fool around with the type of freewheeling casualness born from a combination of summer heat, sexual friskiness, and alcohol. Thanks, in part, to his first-rate cast, Seitz’s natural dialogue—especially during an early, tension-laced discussion between struggling screenwriter Bobby (Jason Liebrecht) and lanky loudmouth Tommy (Stephen T. Neave)—captures the way in which people attempt to impress, intimidate, and entertain each other through jocular sarcasm. The film’s narrative is a collection of mini-dramas, though it primarily focuses on three stories: Bobby’s tentative courtship of newly single Susan; the troubled relationship of Josh (Bradley Spinelli) and Annie (Jennifer Larkin); and Tommy’s budding interest in Bobby’s former flame Harper (Minerva Scelza), which proves upsetting to Rose. These plot threads are interspersed with random characters’ chitchat about music, movies, and dating, and there’s a thematic undercurrent about the competing advantages of unattached urban autonomy vs. married suburban domesticity that one wishes were explored in greater detail. Seitz’s direction is sometimes rough-around-the-edges, and a comment about how Bobby’s current play shouldn’t feature a writer as its protagonist (because “that would be a cliché”) is an unnecessary preemptive strike against potential criticism. Yet the director’s straightforward staging contributes to the film’s fly-on-the-wall atmosphere, and a scene featuring Susan’s reunion with her ex-boyfriend Tomasz (Pavol Liska)—the camera alternating between close-ups of the former couple’s distraught faces with shots of their interlocking hands—is a beautifully constructed example of shot-countershot filmmaking. A convivial portrait of love-struck and lovelorn twentysomethings searching for contentment and companionship, Home coasts along on an enchantingly boozy groove.
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