Mobile Homes makes for a decent watch with a few quiet charms

Mobile Homes makes for a decent watch with a few quiet charms
If you’re tired of movie titles that don’t deliver – A Quiet Place too noisy; no cure for death in The Death Cure; the sneaking suspicion that The Last Jedi isn’t – you should know that Mobile Homes actually takes place inside one for long stretches of the movie.

Imogen Poots stars as Ali, single mother to an eight-year-old named Bone (Frank Oulton). Hers is some extremely laissez-faire parenting; she lets her boyfriend (Poots’ Green Room co-star Callum Turner) use the kid as a drug seller, chicken handler (they supply roosters for cockfights) and a distraction for dine-and-dash operations, literally stitching him up when things go wrong.

Ali seems like about the worst parent ever, but when she and Bone get separated from the boyfriend and wind up in a mobile home that’s being towed north, her maternal instincts kick in, and she starts to imagine she and her son could make a home for themselves. The home’s owner (Callum Keith Rennie), who builds and sells the trailers, might even help make that happen.

Mobile Homes is a first solo feature from French writer/director Vladimir de Fontenay, and he nicely captures the economic uncertainty of modern-day America; even as Ali starts to put down roots, we sense that one minor upset could take it all away.

It’s a decent portrait, and Poots is fully invested in the role, though young Oulton doesn’t quite match her sense of desperation. Some problematic plot twists late in the film – including one that feels like “Hey, we’ve got the budget, let’s do this!” – detract from the simple storyline. But it’s not enough to completely derail the movie’s quiet charms.

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