TIFF18: Homecoming

Has TV been more exciting than movies lately? People have been saying so for some time and, given that we aren’t Assholes Watching Television, the idea sometimes makes me a little defensive. I have to admit though that the first four episodes of Homecoming were the most challenging and exhilarating two hours that I spent at TIFF this year.

The current legitimacy of episodic television is hard to deny when Julia Roberts, one of the biggest movie stars in my lifetime, starts turning to tv for interesting roles. In the new series directed by Mr. Robot creator Sam Esmail, Roberts plays a counselor in a facility whose mandate is ostensibly to help American soldiers returning from their deployments to adapt to life back home. It’s clear from her first phone call with her superior (Bobby Cannavale, as awesome as ever) that there’s something more nefarious or at least more secretive going on at this facility. What is less clear is exactly what that is. Things start to reall get interesting when Julia’s favourite patient (If Beale Street Could Talk’s Stephan James, who will almost definitely be a huge star this time next year) starts to suspect something is amiss.

Homecoming may not be quite the best thing I saw at TIFF this year. That honour probably goes to Widows. But it’s definitely the most original. Just like in Mr. Robot, Esmail’s strange choice of camera angles and Maggie Phillips’ score which often doesn’t seem to match the tone of what we think we’re seeing all contribute to the feeling that there’s so much more going on here then we realize. I can’t wait for the show to finally air in November so I can watch the rest and find out what that is.

Somehow, Homecoming is an adaptation of creators Eli Horowitz and Micah Bloomberg’s podcast which I’ve never listened to nor do I understand what it could possibly be. Together with Esmail, they have assembled an impressive cast that also includes Sissy Spacek, Alex Karpovsky, Shea Whigham, and Dermot Mulroney. Together they have made one of many compelling examples of how television can be just as creative and satisfying as an Oscar season feature film.

18 thoughts on “TIFF18: Homecoming

  1. Liz A.

    Mr. Robot is… interesting… I suppose this is worth a look-see. TV is pretty good, but I think the main issue is that movies aren’t utilizing the female movie stars as they could.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. fragglerocking

        I don’t know anyone who rates her. But even in the crap movies she’s done I always see her as the shining light. I think she’s underrated because the films she does are not all that.


  2. Divorce With Me

    I’m so glad you reviewed this because I was truly curious when I’d seen the one second intro on it a few weeks ago! Sounds fab!

    Hmmm… do you guys even find time to watch tv given all the movies you watch and having careers??!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Matt Post author

      Wow, lots of love for Julia in this comments section. She had some huge fans at the screening to. I’ve never been a huge fan but it’s nice to see she still has so much support since she hasn’t been all that prolific in recent years.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. selizabryangmailcom

    Interesting. I like that there’s a little twist, it sounds like, that *all is not well* at this place. TV definitely CAN equal and/or surpass movies. A few of our favorites: first season of Stranger Things, first season of True Detective, first several seasons of Dexter. I’ve heard from many people that Deadwood was great, but I never saw that. There’s a lot out there! It’s reassuring, actually.



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