The film bucks the trend of the more serious and gritty dramas from the Malayalam film industry in recent years to deliver a wholesome family drama
Veteran actor Indrans plays the role of Oliver Twist, named after the famous Charles Dickens character from the novel of the same name. His elder son Antony Oliver Twist (Sreenath Bhasi), is a film director/writer plagued by a serious case of writer’s block. Antony returns home to his family, which also comprises of a younger brother, Charles (Naslen), his mother (Manju Pillai), and his paternal grandfather (Kainakary Thankaraj), in the hopes of finding the right mental space to write the script before the deadline set by his producer (Maniyan Pilla Raju). However, everything is not as straightforward as he had hoped it would be.
Indrans is the heart and soul of the film, his character’s earnest attempts to stay up to date with the rapidly evolving world of social media and digital space are rebuffed by his tech-savvy sons. His younger son Charles is the epitome of the new generation of ‘Instagram kids’, while his older son Antony is a recluse whose mobile phone addiction is fracturing his relationship with his parents. Manju Pillai, who plays the mother, accurately depicts the life of a retired middle-aged housewife in Kerala trying to keep the household together.
Director Rojin Thomas and cinematographer Neil D'Cuncha reunite yet again for their third film together. They seem to have recreated the same magic which earned Thomas’ first film, Philips and the Monkey Pen, rave reviews from the critics. #Home has produced some stunning shots with several thematic references layered in frames throughout the film. Unlike most family dramas or family entertainers in the Malayalam film industry, the film makes a concerted effort to discuss mental health and creates awareness regarding the issue without affecting the flow of the narrative. It also highlights the lack of awareness amongst the general population about how mobile phone addiction could affect the mental well-being of a person. Oliver’s sessions with the psychologist (Vijay Babu), were discouraged by his family and closest friend, as they deemed the concept an aberration.
The film has an engaging screenplay with fleshed-out characters elevated by the excellent performances by the main cast. Indrans and Manju Pillai excel in their roles as parents. The narrative includes all the vital ingredients for a family drama such as joy, despair, and anger. However, the film does lose some of its impact towards the end. The manner in which one of the subplots is resolved does not fit with the overall tone of the film. A few elements from the third act closely resemble the Sreenivasn film Katha Parayumpol. The area where the film truly shines is when the characters interact without the unnecessary use of background scores. Unfortunately, the overuse of the same towards the ending has devalued Indrans’ performance in the final scene.
Despite a few hiccups, the film is able to entertain and educate in equal measure. It is also a welcome break from the stream of serious films produced by the industry.