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A HOME AT THE END OF THE WORLD

Given his bad-boy image, itís easy to forget that Colin Farrell can act, but his performance in this first film by theater director Michael Mayer should correct that misimpression. For his role as the sweet and timid Bobby, Farrell sheds his charismatic movie-star persona and plays a man so tentative and guileless, heíd seem simple-minded in the hands of a lesser actor. Bobby moves from Cleveland to New York and into an apartment with his childhood best friend, Jonathan (Dallas Roberts), and Jonathanís roommate, Clare (Robin Wright Penn). Jonathan is in love with Bobby, but itís Clare Bobby ends up in bed with, and love-triangle complications ensue.

Written by Michael Cunningham (The Hours) from his own novel, the film accords this situation the ambiguity it needs; Farrellís Bobby is not straight or gay or bisexual, heís just someone who needs to be loved, and who loves with an unaffected naïveté. And whenever Mayer gets bogged down in the melodramatic elements of the material, his actors rise above it. Farrellís now-controversial nude scene was cut, but see this film and youíll get something better: a fine performance. (120 minutes)

BY BROOKE HOLGERSON

Issue Date: July 30 - August 5, 2004
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