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A Home Of Our Own Review

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A mother of six (Bates), moves home with her six children to a ramshackle house where they meet a wide range of characters as well bonding with each other while they argue over money but work together, overcoming their disagreements to earn a living.

★★★★★

Inspired by his own mother's struggles and his impoverished childhood, screenwriter Patrick Duncan has here written a coming-of-age-in-the-company-of-an-indomitable-woman drama that is a tribute to family, love and endurance. It also defies mainstream tastes, centring on a character one may admire for her pride and strength but who it's difficult to like, because of her thick-skinned style of mothering.

In 1962, widowed, worn but gutsy mother-of-six Frances (Bates in a sturdy, unsentimental performance) dreams of a real home, piling her unruly tribe into their jalopy and fleeing their city tenement for the wide open spaces of Idaho. Chancing upon a half-built shack she announces it will be their dream house — to the dismay of 15-year-old, resentful "man of the family" Shayne (Furlong).

The joyless story subsequently chronicles all the hardships, heartbreaks and hopes that go with Frances' obsession, taking in the needy family's friendship with saintly neighbour Mr. Moon (Soon-Teck Oh), the kids' multiple dramas, and mom's pre-feminist battles for independence and respect. Director Tony Bill achieves some potency of mood while marshalling the solid if unspectacular cast.

Unfortunately, the film's real-life basis doesn't spare it from attendant cliches of rural family and rites-of-passage sagas. Ultimately, this is less appealing than other recent efforts dealing with deprived childhoods — American Heart, What's Eating Gilbert Grape? or the vastly superior King Of The Hill.

Being released during a spat of similar themed films didn't do A Home of Our Own any favours, but even now, its fault are all too obvious. Although it tries to be a heartwarming tale of a family bonding through overwhelming circumstances it ends being to

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