Where the Heart Is

Director: John Boorman

U.S.A.| 1990. Colour. Dolby stereo. 107 mins.

Boorman is nothing if not eclectic, and rarely repeats himself-but a domestic comedy on the conflicts of the generation gap was hardly what his admirers would have expected of him. A self-made American tycoon, deciding that his three early-twenties kids have had it all too easy, dumps them into a derelict Brooklyn property to fend for themselves. Boorman, who co-scripted with his daughter Telsche, wanted it to be very light and airy, a kind of urban fable filled with people and events from our own experience as a family. Many critics found the whole set-up altogether too cosy and self-regarding. But besides offering a glance back to Leo the Last, Where the Heart Is weaves into its gentle comedy many of Boorman’s key preoccupations: individualism versus collective tribalism, spiritual values versus materialism, and the crucial survival skill of adapting to one’s environment. And there’s even a Merlin figure, in the shape of Christopher Plummer’s mysteriously gifted old tramp.

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