“No matter how rocky and dry the soil, there’s a chance for life.”
Ron Vignone’s Two Ways Home has won a slew of awards at various festivals around the country. It is a story of broken people and broken relationships. It is also a story of healing and new life.
Kathy (Tanna Frederick, who also produced) has just been released from prison and treatment for a recently diagnosed bi-polar disorder. She returns to her home in rural Iowa, hoping to live with her grandfather Walter (Tom Bower) on his small pig farm. But Walter is in a convalescent home following a heart attack. After some time with her parents (who would like to have Walter declared incompetent to get power of attorney), Kathy begins to clean up Walter’s house so he can come home where she will take care of him.
Kathy’s tweener daughter Cori (Rylie Behr) is resentful of Kathy’s absence the last several years. As Kathy tries to mend that relationship she is encouraged by her ex, Junior (Joel West). Step by step Kathy begins to make progress.
But it turns out that Walter isn’t as whole as he seems. He can be a bit mercurial, blowing up at Kathy when he returns home for redoing his house and throwing out his flea-ridden favorite chair. We also learn that he suffers from untreated PTSD from when he was in the Army. He needs to heal both physically and emotionally.
The characters are treated with compassion and acceptance. We understand why those who know her want to keep her at arm’s length. She understands it too, but is out to prove herself trustworthy.
The film touches briefly on various issues, but then fails to really explore them, such as the difference between corporate farming (Kathy’s father) and the small farm represented by Walter, andthe desire to take control of an elderly parent’s life when they need help, but don’t want it. Even Walter’s PTSD is only an obstacle that comes up late in the film and is quickly set aside. There is even a brief touch of religion and prayer, but that, too, is quickly passed over.
The real focus of the film is restoration of relationships. We don’t see all healing in the broken relationships, but we do see it in some of them. (That allows us to extrapolate that others will heal as well.) The film also serves to make us aware of the ways mental issues like bi-polar disorder may be the cause of some of the rifts in people’s lives, and that with treatment, those damaged relationship may be mended.
Two Ways Home is available on VOD.