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This Review Reveals Minor Details About the Plot.

No Place Like Home

The Homecoming (1973) on IMDb

Plot Overview

butcherLiving in a summer house in North London is a pensioner named Max (Paul Rogers) who “worked as a butcher all my life, using the chopper and the slab.” Staying with him is his slimy pimp of a son Lenny (Ian Holm), his 63-year-old brother Sam (Cyril Cusack) the hot shot chauffeur who likes to toot his own horn, and his youngest son Joey (Terence Rigby) a demolitions expert who's in training to be a boxer. They spend all their waking hours ragging on each other but they stay together.

Missing these past nine years is Max's oldest son Teddy (Michael Jayston) now a professor of philosophy in California. Teddy and his wife Ruth (Vivien Merchant) are currently on tour of Europe. He is too young to have been in the war, but they stop first in Venice where he feels nostalgic for the place figuring his regiment might have been stationed there had he had one. Second on the nostalgia list is the home where he was born. There he introduces his family to his wife.

Before she met Teddy, Ruth was a “photo­graphic model of the body,” but now she tends to raising their three boy children. She feels that if she had been in the Nurses' Corps in the war, she might have been stationed in Italy. She feels nostalgic for Venice, too. She also hits it off with Teddy's English family and they take a shine to her. She's a keeper.


Methodology is
importantAt one point in the family discussions the philosophy professor Teddy declaims on the major fallacy of Christianity of how come “the Unknown must receive reverence.” Yet, he had no problem being nostalgic about an unknown city. But, what do I know? I'll leave it to the philosophers.

The movie does, however, illuminate a minor fallacy that Christians deal with. Max tells of “a top notch group of butchers. I was going into association with them.” When asked what happened, he replied, “They turned out to be a bunch of criminals like every­one else.” Bible teacher Norm Fox discusses in his class materials where, “2Cor. 6:14 warns believers not to become ‘unequally yoked’ with unbelievers. The verse is often applied to the issue of Christians marrying non-Christians, although that is not what the context is all about. ¶“The principle is that when believers connect them­selves with unbelievers in matters where moral decisions will be made, they will risk becoming parties to unac­cep­table results” (2). Bible teacher Steve Gregg in his radio question-and-answer show, The Narrow Path, was in substantial agreement with that, as of the summer of 2018. In “The Home­coming” we find a similar situation where Max was connecting with business partners who didn't share his morality. The problem occurs when one doesn't discover the conflicts until after he has become committed.

I once did temporary contract sales of newspaper subscriptions. No conflicts for years and years. Then the paper company provided me Lottery Tickets to give out with new subscriptions, and I didn't want to promote gambling. Since I was their best sales­man I doubt they would get rid of me so long as I was bringing in the orders, so I didn't pass out Lottery Tickets unless some­one requested one; then I figured he was into gambling already. If a fellow Christian were to become shocked seeing me with a stack of Lotto tickets on my table, I would remove them until he went away. I was using the principles of Paul in 1st Corinthians where he allowed various connections between a Christian and the world. There are seven I shall list:

  1. We are allowed to have things in the world, and to acquire new things. (1Cor. 3:21-22) “For all things are yours; Whether … the world, or … things present, or things to come; all are your's.”
  2. Paul tells us (1Cor. 5:9-10) that we may associate with character-flawed non-Christians;
  3. that a Christian may maintain a marriage to a non-christian (1Cor. 7:12-17) so long as the unbeliever is willing;
  4. that (1Cor. 7:29-31) “they that use this world, … not abuse it;”
  5. that we can compromise with the heathen in the workplace—Criswell Study Bible preface to First Corinthians states: “Some Christians needed to know whether or not they should attend the meetings of their trade guild, meetings held in the idol temples and involving meat offered to the idols (1Cor. 8:4-13)”—as long as we're doing it in faith and not stumbling someone;
  6. that we can compromise in the marketplace (1Cor. 10:25-26)
  7. and in entertainment (1Cor. 10:27-28) for the same reason, and as long as we don't ask too many questions.

In 2nd Corinthians Paul does ask the Corinthians the rhetorical question, (2Cor. 6:15) “what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?” Webster defines, “infidel: one who is not a Christian or who opposes Christianity.” The Corinthians have a complete number of seven ready examples at hand due to their allowed associations. It's these mismatches that impress on their minds the incom­pati­bility of mixed composition, so that, say, we should not establish a “Voodoo Church of Christ.” The two are not going to mix well. Paul thus concludes telling Christians: (2Cor. 6:14) “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: ...” Note the plural pronoun ye. Webster defines, “ye pron you 1 — used orig. only as a plural pronoun of the second person in the subjective case and now used esp. in ecclesiastical or literary language and in various English dialects.” We are forbidden to integrate heathen practices into our church in the aggregate, though as individual believers we are allowed to rub shoulders with unbelievers in various places so long as we remain aloof from their idolatry or what­ever. Paul used the passive voice in the aggregate “Be ye not”, being less defined than in his direct statements in 1st Corinthians. As, say, a forensic artist points out in one of Carrie Stuart Parks's novels concerning: “passive language, usually the choice of someone who wants to conceal the identity of the perp” (60).

In “The Homecoming” Max was cognizant from his association with other butchers that different moral standards can lead to conflicts. Lenny tells his brother, “Teddy. Your family looks up to you, boy, and you know what it does? It does its best to follow the example you set. Because you're a great source of pride to us. That's why we were so glad to see you come back, to welcome you back to your birth­place.” Being unable to persuade Teddy to stay longer, they never­the­less do get his wife Ruth to “finalize the contract” for her to be their amah: to clean the house, cook the meals, and tend the men while Teddy completes his tour of Europe. Max was concerned that “she won't be adaptable;” he's been burned once in his butcher business, but we are confident that she's cut from the same cloth as they.

Production Values

This drama, “” (1973) was directed by Peter Hall. The screen­play was written by Harold Pinter based on a play by Harold Pinter. His material is so distinctive that the term Pinteresque was coined to denote: humor pushed too far, passive-aggressive behavior, sharp dialogue, and many pauses. This film stars Cyril Cusack, Ian Holm, and Paul Rogers. The performances are all British excellent, especially that of Vivien Merchant—who at the time was the wife of Harold Pinter.

Do not dismiss the PG rating; some adults could stand some guidance, too, I imagine. Most of my seasoned film class either spaced out, walked out, or flipped out at its showing. I could only handle it because I am widely read and have other literature to compare it to. I know how to be non­judg­mental and just enjoy the story. It comes across like a play transferred to film: the actors project to the rear of the theatre and it's shot in one setting with the camera moving a bit occasionally.

Review Conclusion w/ Christian Recommendation

This movie was wonderfully disturbing and in retrospect riotously funny. I don't recommend seeing it with a date. I'm not saying a couple couldn't enjoy it together, but why take the chance? Don't see it with your parents, either. And you better not invite a friend for a first-time viewing, not if you want him to come back. In fact you just might sleep better if you skip it, yourself.

Movie Ratings

Action Factor: Weak action scenes Suitability for children: Suitable for children with guidance. Special effects: Average special effects Suspense: A few suspenseful moments Video Occasion: None of the Above Overall movie rating: Four stars out of five.

Works Cited

Scripture quoted from the King James Version. Pub. 1611. Rev. 1769. Software.

The Criswell Study Bible. Authorized King James Version. Nashville | Camden: Thomas Nelson Pub., 1979. Print.

Fox, Norm. T&S Bulletin for February 18, 2018. Copyright 2018, The Times and the Scriptures, 948 Darlene Ave., Spring­field, OR 97477. Print. Used by permission.

Parks, Carrie Stuart. Portrait of Vengeance. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2017. Print.

Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary. Springfield, Mass.: MERRIAM-WEBSTER. 1984. Print.