Pros: Touching and humorous, strong performances by Kathy Bates and Edward Furlong.
Cons: Some profanity and violence, depressing until the very end.
I was a bit surprised to see that no one else had reviewed this film. Though it quickly came and went at the box office and was barely noticed on video (I am one of the ten people who owns it, no doubt), "A Home of Our Own" has appeared frequently on cable, most recently on Lifetime Movie Network. And it's worth watching, if for no other reason than to see Kathy Bates and Eddie Furlong in excellent performances as the strong-willed, sharp-tongued Frances Lacey and her eldest son, Shayne.
Frankly, I like the story, sentimental and predictable though it may be. Bates' character, fed up with living in a cramped apartment in L.A., decides on the spur of the moment to pack up her brood and head for - somewhere else. The family has no money and scarcely anything else, other than plain old gumption, wits, and a willingness to work hard. Shayne, the eldest and the "man of the family" at fifteen, is sullen and brooding, and Furlong's dark mannerisms work well here. The boy loves his mother and siblings, yet underneath harbors a sense of resentment, not only for them but for his dead father. We get the distinct impression that the man wasn't much good anyway; nevertheless, a single woman with six kids deosn't have much of a chance in life. Unless, of course, she's Frances Lacey.
Frances wants the family to have a home of their own, a place that will be "all buttoned up and beautiful." It's a dream she is determined to make come true, and her kids follow her with a mixture of fear and admiration. Frances is not exactly a gentle and kind mother; she rules with an iron hand, but there is no doubt that, despite her tough exterior, she loves her children deeply and desperately wants a better life for them all. When she finally finds what she deems the right place - a tumbledown shack in Hankston, Idaho - Frances negotiates with the property's owner, "Mr.Moon", trading work for the opportunity to fix up the place and make it into a real house. The family sticks together through so many trials that it's well-nigh exhausting to watch, and the children must endure the teasing of classmates who make fun of their secondhand and homemade clothes.
One of the kids, Murray, is quite a character in his own right, and he finds a way to negotiate with a junk man for such prizes as a real toilet, furniture, and other castoff items. In the process of working on the house, Murray is injured, and in one of the film's most moving scenes, Shayne attempts to carry him to the hospital in town. Frances is assaulted by a coworker. Christmas is a fiasco. A fire destroys all the work that the Lacey tribe has done on their house. But there is a happy ending thanks to Mr.Moon, who has taken the Laceys to his heart.
"A Home of Our Own" is not a great film. It's "The Waltons" with an edge, cute kids all over the place, some bad dialogue in spots, but, thankfully, no heroic dogs or horses. Because of the rough language, it cannot properly be called a fmily film, but it's a decent film about a decent family, and worth two hours of your time.