Challenging our notions of cinema for young adults, the new film from Belgian director Fien Troch (Kid, Unspoken) is a daring and nuanced exploration of three troubled teenagers’ relationships both with each other and the adult world around them.
The new film from Belgian director Fien Troch (Kid, Unspoken) is a daring and nuanced exploration of teenagers' relationships both with each other and the adult world around them.
Home revisits the themes of emotional uncertainty and moral ambiguity found in Troch's previous work, but with its loose narrative structure and ultra-realist style — reminiscent of the Dardennes, Ken Loach, and Larry Clark — she completes her cinematic coming of age. The film follows a trio of adolescent boys whose self-control and fragile egos are tested by a traumatic experience that will reveal their respective natures and shape their world views. Recently released from a juvenile detention facility, Kevin is offered a fresh start as a plumbing apprentice at his aunt and uncle's renovation business. Living in his relatives' basement and enjoying some modest luxuries previously unavailable to him, Kevin begins to spend more time with Sammy, his younger, more emotionally stable cousin, and their solemn friend John, who's unable to hide his troubled home life. As the three friends struggle to find their way, we're reminded how adults tend to forget the powerful, if fleeting, nature of adolescent emotion — and how teenagers tend to neglect the consequences of their own actions. Presented in Academy ratio, and intercut with largely improvised, vertical cellphone-camera footage, Home is more akin to cinema verité than narrative fiction. Closely capturing, with a keen sense of detail, the physical environment and body language of her characters, Troch and cinematographer Frank van den Eeden create a world where small gestures impart big meaning, imbuing the film with an almost uncomfortable authenticity. With its careful balance of intense anger, frustration, tenderness, and hope, Home brings Troch's uncompromising vision to life.