I was lucky enough to see a preview of Home Again, starring Reese Witherspoon and directed by Nancy Meyers. Now, I make no pretence of being a film critic (although read on for my review), but what I am is an amateur interiors critic. And the interiors in this movie are insanely good. The Home Again house might actually be my dream home.
Home Again is about Alice (Reese Witherspoon), newly separated and back home in L.A. with her two adorable girls, living in the (epic, hacienda-style) house which was left to her by her film-director father. (Did I mention that the house was epic?) On a night out to celebrate her birthday, she meets three adorable young men, aspiring film-makers in need of a place to stay. She invites them back to her pad. The next day her mum (a former film-star, obvs, nicely-played by Candice Bergen) invites them to stay in the pool house (did I mention that the epic house has a pool and a pool house?). Some romance and more adorable/comic action follow as the three young men bring heart, soul and romance to the lives of Alice and her girls, before her roguishly rumpled ex (Michael Sheen) rolls up to woo her back. The whole thing is as entirely charming as you’d expect it to be.
When I left the cinema there were three thoughts going around my head…
Point one: God, it’s good to see a film written by a woman (Hallie Myers-Shyer), directed by a woman (Nancy Myers) and starring a woman (the comic gold that is Reese Witherspoon). Which is probably why the romance (such as it is) is secondary to Reese getting a handle on her life and what makes her happy: she wants to start over as an interior designer; get her girls settled in school; misses her husband without being sure that being without him isn’t, in fact, the better decision. It’s also – all hail the revolution – nice to see a movie where the older woman dabbles with a younger man without a lot of hand-wringing. (Big deal, eyerolls Alice’s friend, it’s not as though older men aren’t doing it allllll the time with younger women.) I also appreciated that Reese looked real. Okay, Hollywood-real and still fabulous, but she wears mom jeans and her stomach isn’t concave. Again, hail the revolution,
Point two: Should my husband ever take it into his head to call us a day, I have new hope that I will find a charming, witty, firm-bodied twenty-something for late night conversation and hot sex. (Sorry, mum. Also, sorry husband and please note: I don’t actually want this scenario to play out. I’m just saying.
Point three: I want to redecorate my entire house.
The interiors are heaven. I may actually have swooned at one point. So is the exterior: gardens are liberally festooned with retro wicker chairs and al fresco dining set-ups surrounded by hundreds of twinkly lights and candles.
It’s obvious that this is Alice’s house, for her new life with the girls, decorated to her taste (contrast it with the deeply masculine office of her workaholic ex) – with flashes of pink throughout. But there are nods to its antecedents: wicker, 1970s peacock chairs (I never knew I needed one ’til now), posters of her father’s films on the walls.
Inside, it’s a Pottery Barn/Crate & Barrel (why oh why do these stores not exist here?) mash-up of sunny rooms decorated with impeccable taste, with enough personal quirk to make it feel like Alice and her daughters actually live there.
It’s the type of house where you get a giant fruit platter for breakfast and juice comes in a jug (not a carton); where bowls of lemons hang around on kitchen islands; picture walls are A Thing; beds are made to hotel-standard; and Diptyque candles abound. I was distracted during one scene by the preponderance of Diptyque candles in Alice’s bedroom (“Does she have two Baies candles in the same room? One regular size and, oh my days, is that the limited edition black glass version?”)
Typically of a Nancy Meyers movie, it’s a masterclass in attention to detail. The piles of books by Alice’s bed, the wine in the kitchen. There are many ideas to steal here: casually leaning pictures against the wall, the joy of trays, low level vases everywhere, the genius of grouping similar objects together…
I have pinned these kitchen tiles to my ‘next house’ Pinterest board. (The boy-man? Not pinned. Stand down, husband.)
And it’s a salutary reminder than pattern clashes do work.
So get yourself to your nearest cinema for something altogether charming, but quite possibly ruinously expensive: you might just come away wanting to redecorate your entire home. Here’s some ideas to start you off…
Clockwise from top left: Wishbone chair, £543.60, SCP; Lidded jar, £45, Artisanti; Baies candle, £45, Diptyque; Rug, currently £84, La Redoute; Peacock rattan chair, £178.50, Maisons du Monde; Side table, £169, Made; Bowsley tall jug, £23, Neptune; Rattan tray, £49.99, Zara Home;Cushion, £50 from a selection at Edit58; Andalucia Hacienda tiles, £3.95 each, Fired Earth
Photographs by Amy Neunsinger. Home Again is in cinemas now.