Despite its lengthy title, “I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore,” offers with gusto a timely vigilante tale of social fury, bleeding violence, and plenty of goofy moments.
Directed by Macon Blair, the film stars Melanie Lynskey as Ruth, a socially awkward, depressed woman who finds a new sense of purpose after her home is burglarized. With the help of her obnoxious neighbor (Elijah Wood), they decide to track down the thieves, but soon find themselves dangerously out of their depth against a group of degenerate criminals.
The timeliness of the film’s misanthropic ideology is a much needed (and appreciated) reflection of the “Ruths” in the world, those reasonable human beings eroding and suffocating underneath the growing pile of corruption that is humanity. In this day and age, pure idealism is hard to come by, and “I Don’t Feel At Home” lends that respectful level of realism.
Decent human beings can find themselves in Ruth, slowly weathering away under a series of now normal indignities—getting cut off by selfish grocery-store shoppers, people who refuse to pick up items that they knowingly dropped, a pollution-belching truck on the road, and dog poo boldly sitting on her lawn. Even her encounter with the caring-on-paper police confirms our worst assumptions of the human race. When Ruth asks Detective Benix’s for advice, instead of alleviating her concerns, he simply chastises her for leaving her door unlocked. Understandably, she becomes socially alienated with the world and its limitless capacity for thoughtless insensitivity.
Ruth is us. She is our mouthpiece, reacting with the same sharp wit and scathing intelligence that matches our own inner thoughts by shoving social norms in the face of those who condone them; these actions are hard to come by in films.
The idea that humanity has flushed itself down the toilet, is hardly new; however, while Blair does sympathizes with those world-weary folk, he does not condemn humanity as a whole. He does not entirely share the same existential hopelessness as Ruth, for he created characters that challenge the audience’s cynical perceptions. Obnoxious, mustache wearing, heavy metal fan Tony is, on the inside, a faithful human being who genuinely cares for Ruth’s wellbeing. The thought-provoking character dynamics forces the audience to question their own principles and stereotypes concerning individuals and society as a whole, all the while validate them in a satisfyingly realistic and clever fashion.
Despite the film’s dark undertones, Ruth and Tony’s quirky personalities give the film an infectiously charming distinction. Tony’s heavy-metal jams, aggressive kindness, and idealistic faith and Ruth’s nihilistic philosophy, social awkwardness, and passionate fury differentiate them as complex and believable people. The script is fantastically written with naturally awkward moments and commonly used colloquialism. Unlike most films, “I Don’t Feel at Home” recognizes that most people do not speak without pauses and “Um’s.”
Lynskey’s heartfelt emotions, common sense, and genuine awkwardness as Ruth on screen ultimately lend this “era of jerks” piece of work its relatable, cynical reasoning and its surprisingly idealistic aftertaste. “I Don’t Feel at Home” is a thought-provoking thriller that takes familiar material and extract from it the kind of refreshingly bold narrative delight that is best appreciated with a group of people.
Its contemplative themes, dark undertones, eccentric characters, and unexpected Tarantino violence definitely outshines its flaws. “I Don’t Feel at Home” is a fun film with relative topics, believable dialogue, and well-done characters.
I will warn you that if swearing is not your cup of tea, then this film is not for you. However, the content and message behind the film overshadows the natural flow of curse words flying from Lynskey’s mouth.
“I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore” has a timeless quality and is definitely worth watching once…and again.