Chicago International Film Festival 2011
Take Me Home
Directed by: Sam Jaeger
Cast: Sam Jaeger, Amber Jaeger, Victor Garber
Running Time: 1 hr 35 mins
Release Date: TBD
PLOT: A down-on-his-luck cab driver finds himself driving from New York to California with a young career woman whose personal life seems to be falling apart.
WHO’S IT FOR? Take Me Home is part romantic comedy and part road movie. Fans of either genre will find themselves enchanted with the chemistry between the two and the sincerity of its charm.
Sam Jaeger’s directorial debut, Take Me Home, is a truly unique experience in that, going into it, I was expecting something familiar, something I’d seen at the movies time and time again. An unlikely duo brought together by unforeseen circumstances are forced to travel together with seemingly insurmountable obstacles. In all honesty, I was terrified that the talented actor/director would be treating his audience to something tired and formulaic. However, nothing could be further from the truth.
The film begins to paint its picture with broad strokes. There is the down-on-his-luck young taxi driver who crosses with paths with the type-A working woman whose personal life is suffering. The characters feel like you’ve seen them in every romance to grace the silver screen. But it isn’t long before it becomes clear that the feeling of familiarity is a blessing, not a curse. These aren’t the caricatures that Jaeger’s initial introductions seem to suggest. Instead, he deceives his audiences, as well as his characters, by offering these facades. it is only as the movie progresses and the relationship between Thom and Claire builds that the layers slowly peel away to reveal that both our leads are not at all who they seem.
Although a fair amount of credit should be given to the writing, something must also be said about the chemistry between Mr. Jaeger and his onscreen partner. The two are absolutely electric. Amber Jaeger’s acerbic wit is the perfect companion to Sam Jaeger’s infectious charm. Although there moments of banter are among the most memorable, it is in those tender moments of vulnerability that the true talent makes an appearance. One of the most breathtaking and simple moments the two share is when Thom professes that he doesn’t like the person that he has become. After listing a myriad of flaws and wrongdoings, Claire simply looks at him and says, “I know.” It is so delicately understated and true to life that the brief moments of doubt simply disappear.
Imbued with the heart of a romance and the soul of a road movie, Take Me Home takes an unlikely journey with its two leads. Although it dances on the edge of a romantic cliche, the sweeping landscapes paired with the intimate confessions between the two, breath new life into it. By the end of the film, the two are not at all who I initially feared they would be. Instead, their stereotypical nature in the beginning, gives way to a sincerity that I have not seen in a movie in quite some time.
FINAL SCORE: 8/10