When the dust settled, and the credits finished rolling, the most glaring thought in my head about I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore was that the title was very fitting. It shouldn’t feel at home amongst the amazing Netflix originals that the platform has become known for. A stilted 96-minutes of indie-noir drama starring a somewhat wooden Melanie Lynskey, Home left me feeling exactly the same as when I started watching: bored.
That’s why people watch movies most of the time, they are bored and want to see something exciting or compelling to escape the monotony of the day-in and day-out. Home is neither of these things, and instead thrusts the viewer into the shoes of a woman going about her day-in and out, with little else to note about her.
The opening covers many of the basics: Ruth is a nursing assistant who lets patients yell at her, lets people cut in front of her in line, and lets people spoil books for her, seemingly just because it means someone is interacting with her. Ruth’s life is tedious, and lonely. Perhaps it speaks to a hidden merit of the film that the viewer is equally numb when watching.
When a burglar breaks into her house and steals her grandmother’s silverware, Ruth becomes the annoying friend everyone had in high school; she becomes even mopier, and spouts lines about the meaninglessness of life and the way that death is simply a black void of nothingness.
She is a real hoot.
Home finds a spark of life with the introduction of Elijah Wood’s character Tony. Tony is the other annoying friend from high school, whose nunchucks and metal music are only the most visible markers of his eccentricity. Having found his niche in Hollywood playing quirky supporting characters, Wood is the best part of the movie. He swings a morning star with glee and lovingly plays with his golden retriever, with equal enthusiasm. The quiet contradictions about Tony make him a surprisingly adept foil to Ruth; where she is nihilistic, he is devout. Where she is tempered and shy, he is abrupt and swings medieval weapons. He brings an element of surprise to the plot and shakes it up when stagnant.
There is only so much one character can do, of course. Even with the occasional spike of enthusiasm or joke about painkillers, the movie is still dragged down as it embraces Ruth’s depression and makes the audience feel her pain.
In the scenes that are injected as “action” to liven up the script, there is no identifiable choreography. Blood is thrown about to add a splash of colour to the dreary cinematography, but even the short-lived fight scenes are boring. Drawn out to fill out the run time, every scene seems an hour, and every line of dialogue seems a monologue.
I Don’t Feel At Home In This World Anymore is not a fun watch. It is not quality film, and it is not enjoyable. Like its protagonist, the movie does not seem to know why it exists.