“Home”: For a man dealing with mental illness, there’s no place like it


Few movies have gotten mental illness right, preferring to treat it as a quirk (“The Dream Team”), an affectation (“Henry and Joon”) or a menace (most horror movies). There’s a great movie coming out this spring called “Infinitely Polar Bear,” starring Mark Ruffalo as a father dealing with bipolar disorder. He doesn’t defeat mental illness at the end of the film, and it doesn’t defeat him, because that’s not what happens. He just lives with it, through good days and rough days, like any other chronic disease.

Jono Oliver’s “Home” is another film that gets it right. The affecting and low-key drama skips past the usual dramatic scenes of someone who has suffered a psychotic breakdown, instead showing us the quieter but more convincing struggle of someone trying to piece his life back together afterwards.

Given its authenticity, it’s no surprise that the National Alliance on Mental Illness — Wisconsin is sponsoring a screening of “Home” on Thursday, Feb. 27 at 7 p.m. at the Barrymore Theatre, 2090 Atwood Ave. The screening is free, although audience members are encouraged to make donations and to pre-register online. Oliver will take part in a meet-and-greet session before the film at 5:30 p.m. and a Q&A afterwards. And, in a late announcement, the film’s star, Gbenga Akinnagbe, is also flying into Madison for the Barrymore event. (If you can’t make the screening, “Home” is also on Netflix.)

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