Home Before Dark

  • 1998
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Drama

Literate, low-key and quietly powerful, writer-director Maureen Foley's debut feature looks at the turbulent inner life of an adolescent girl coming of age at the end of the Kennedy era. Eleven-year-old Nora (Stephanie Castellarin) lives in the shadow of tragedy that struck even before she was born: En route to the family's new home in rural Massachusetts,...read more

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Reviewed by Ken Fox
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Literate, low-key and quietly powerful, writer-director Maureen Foley's debut feature looks at the turbulent inner life of an adolescent girl coming of age at the end of the Kennedy era. Eleven-year-old Nora (Stephanie Castellarin) lives in the shadow of tragedy

that struck even before she was born: En route to the family's new home in rural Massachusetts, her mother Dolores (Patricia Kalember) crashed her car into a dairy truck, killing her three small children. Years pass, and Dolores and husband Martin (Brian Delate) pull their lives back together

enough to start a second family. But the emotionally scarred Dolores has embarked on a slow retreat from reality, losing herself in the Camelot fantasy of the Kennedy family. Her dream world comes crashing down on Nov. 22, 1963: Upon hearing the news that the President has been murdered, she

slashes her wrists and is sent away to a sanitarium. Nora's life is suddenly turned inside out, as she's packed off to live with her Aunt Rose (Katharine Ross), a swank, martini-swilling adulteress whose personal unhappiness puts her at loggerheads with Nora's burgeoning sense of herself. This is

a marvelously crafted film, featuring an expert script full of emotionally rich characters and a terrific cast who bring it all to life. Ross -- never a strong actress, despite her brief stardom in the late '60s and early '70s -- turns in a surprisingly competent performance: Her Rose is a

brittle, real-life Stepford wife whose jaded exterior protects a profound desperation. The real star here, however, is newcomer Castellarin, who's in virtually every frame of the film. She takes on the difficult task of expressing a child's need for her mother as she learns to separate her own

life from that of her parents, and she pulls it off like a pro.

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  • Released: 1998
  • Rating: NR
  • Review: Literate, low-key and quietly powerful, writer-director Maureen Foley's debut feature looks at the turbulent inner life of an adolescent girl coming of age at the end of the Kennedy era. Eleven-year-old Nora (Stephanie Castellarin) lives in the shadow of t… (more)

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