By midlandsmovies, May 4 2019 08:10PM
Midlands Review - Leaving Home
Directed by James Heaney
"After having an argument with his dad, Liam decides that he's leaving home as he's had enough of being judged. Will he be able to leave without tearing the family apart?"
Leaving Home begins with a young man scrolling through his phone one morning as he awakes from his sleep before heading downstairs to meet his mum and dad at the breakfast table.
Rather than a happy ‘good morning’, there is tension in the air as the man and his father bicker whilst his mum tries to keep the peace. As the breakfast is served, father and son’s tumultuous relationship comes to the forefront as they begin to take digs at each other.
With dad accusing his son of being lazy for not washing up his plates, the son grabs at his chest in discomfort. However, his pain is dismissed by his tough father and before he leaves the kitchen, he states that he will sort his life out when he “moves away from you two”.
The opening is well shot but the introduction of the parents has them strangely filmed from behind. In another movie this may have suggested a barrier between parents and child. But here you simply can’t see the faces and some different blocking and framing would have been more effective to draw us in to the characters as they are introduced. As it is, the white kitchen and bland beige wardrobe really doesn’t create much atmosphere on their own.
Also, although I’m no prude I felt the swearing between the two appeared unjustified in the context. Instead, it would have been great to use something more visual to represent the father-son arguments. A glance, some silence or some cleverer shot choices could have given Leaving Home some more creativity and subtlety. As it is, it’s a very literal translation of quite a literal script.
However, as the son returns to his room, the film has a good use of graphics to show him messaging his friend. The the son begins to grab at his chest once again as he listens to loud music which shuts him off from his parents. But a juddering special effect and a hard cut in the middle of the short jolts the film from its standard delivery to create some mystery as to a far greater life-changing event.
As the boy’s parents discuss how to talk to their son to resolve their differences, he is soon heading downstairs to offer his own apology. Uncomfortably though, his mum ignores his pleas and it is here where the short suggests something altogether different has occurred in these people’s lives.
In conclusion Leaving Home comes across as an honourable attempt to create a short about an important part of dealing with those who are “leaving” but with an added twist. Yet although the sound, visuals and technical aspects are undertaken well, there’s not a lot here to make the film stand out.
The film does get far more interesting towards its end however and the story is simple and delivered clearly – but I do hope the filmmaker can put their own creative stamp on their next work as the solid foundations are already successfully in place here to be built upon in future projects.