Ithaca-Meg Ryan’s Directorial Debut Isn’t Everything It Should Be
Based on the 1943 novel The Human Comedy by William Saroyan, Ithaca stars Alex Neustaedter as Homer Macauley, a fourteen year old boy trying to find work in his home town to help support his widowed mother (played by Meg Ryan) and two other siblings while his oldest brother is off fighting over seas during WWII. Homer is hired by the local post office as a Messenger Boy whose job is to collect incoming telegraphs from the telegrapher and deliver them on his bike to the town’s people. It would be a job far harder than ever expected.
With WWII raging on, few telegraphs the office receives are of good news, and more often than not, Homer delivers messages from the Secretary of Defense informing families their loved ones were killed in action. But he is determined to be the absolute best at his job, and though it makes him a man far sooner than wanted, he sticks with the service. Homer’s brother writes to him often while away, and helps encourage him to be strong and take care of the family while he’s away. Grief stricken from losing her husband, Mrs. Mcauley at times hallucinates about her husband (played by Tom Hanks) but pushes through to try and keep the family safe and cared for. One final tragedy brings strangers and families together, and Homer learns what it means to be a real man. End of story, fade to credits.
The movie, simply put, wasn’t organized and was very frustrating to watch. The scenes didn’t flow together, the dialog was quirky and sometimes simply didn’t make sense, and the cut away scenes lacked meaning. The only magic you could see in the film was between Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. There, the characters didn’t truly speak (he was a hallucination after all) but the emotion and connection was real and honest, full of sadness and love, absolute heartbreak and total confusion as how she could go on without him. The rest of it was just missed opportunities of what could have been said or done to really make this movie come alive.
See the official movie trailer here:
IMBD page: Ithaca
Directed by Meg Ryan Written by Eric Jendresen starring Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan, Jack Quaid
Music by John Mellencamp
Official Site: http://www.momentumpictures.net/ithaca