The sincerity of The Homestretch is certainly never in doubt. Depicting the plight of three homeless teens in Chicago, Anne de Mare and Kirsten Kelly’s documentary interweaves the personal stories with various facts and statistics highlighting the widespread nature of the issue. Unfortunately, despite its pure intentions, The Homestretch never really manages to succeed to be truly engaging, regardless of the clear warmth of the three featured youths.
There’s a strange dichotomy surrounding the films of John Hughes, both written and directed. In one sense, there have been few directors that have so understood the angst of the teenage experience. Yet, conversely, Hughes’ depiction of both race and gender are entirely at odds with his apparent insight into the teen condition.
Watching Frank recently, it occurred to me how often the creative process is shown on-screen, and how frequently this process is shown in a hackneyed, unsubtle way. Too often directors attempt to over-romanticise the writing process, and feature endless montages of their artists receiving some form of divine inspiration, as if writing was truly that exciting and easy. Admittedly, showing such a process on-screen is problematic.
Last month it was announced that Kirsten Dunst, in her directorial debut, will be directing Dakota Fanning in an adaptation of Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar. In an interview, Dunst has noted that her approach in adapting the seminal text has been to avoid the ‘didactic’ and instead ‘make a life of something … you really need to make your own scenes up’. Such an approach, while entirely refreshing for me, is one that regularly receives criticism from those that view the source text as somehow sacred, and thus static and intractable.