As a pot-smoking teenager, Bobby finds temporary emotional rescue with his best friend Jonathan's straight-laced family. Sleeping in Jonathan's bedroom, Bobby discovers his bisexuality. He also discovers a lifelong bond to Jonathan's mother, Alice (Sissy Spacek), a frustrated housewife adrift in the suburbs who inspires Bobby to become a baker.
Novelist Michael Cunningham, who wrote the screenplay and novel the film is based on, sees poetry in the small details of his characters' lives. And he's especially cognizant of how women (like those in The Hours) spend countless hours of unacknowledged time providing comfort and care. First-time director Michael Mayer's flawed, at times superficial, but nevertheless affecting adaptation of Cunningham's novel explores anew the profound effect relationships -- either nurturing or truncated -- can have on his characters.
Bobby finds adult shelter and an emotional homecoming in the East Village apartment grown-up Jonathan (Dallas Roberts) shares with acid-tongued roommate Clare (Robin Wright Penn). The relationship that develops between this "funny family" carries them into hippie domesticity in Woodstock, NY, where they have a baby and open a restaurant.
When Farrell steps in as the adult Bobby, the initially unconvincing film finally hits its stride. Bobby's stooped posture and dark brows knit in confusion make him infectiously lovable as he struggles with the abandonment issues of his childhood.
Despite some difficult-to-overlook faults, it's hard not to be moved by Cunningham and Mayer's heartfelt assertion that the urge for home and love are not the proprietary right of heterosexual coupledom.