I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore is a mix of dark comedy, crime drama, and gory thriller. It’s not one thing. It’s unique and quirky, even a bit of a mess. There are minor spoilers ahead.
Melanie Lynskey stars as Ruth, a nurse’s assistant. She leads a lonely, depressed life and thinks most people are assholes. This is confirmed when her house is broken into. Her computer and her grandma’s silverware are stolen.
The police detective who investigates (Gary Anthony Williams) doesn’t give her much encouragement for recovering anything. She takes matters into her own hands and canvasses her neighborhood. She meets a bizarre collection of neighbors for the first time, but none of them saw anything helpful.
Finally she ventures into Tony’s (Elijah Wood) yard. She’s confronted him before because he lets his dog poop in her yard. Now she discovers he’s a self-styled martial arts guru. They have an awkward conversation – both of them are socially inept.
She goes home and tries the app to find her computer. It pings a location.
When she calls to tell the cops, “My computer was stolen and I can see it,” it takes her 5 minutes to explain she means the app on her phone found the location of her computer. The cops won’t send anyone there without a search warrant.
Emboldened, Ruth marches down to Tony’s and asks him to be backup. She’s going after her computer.
I’d love to see Melanie Lynskey nominated for some awards for this film.It’s around this time that I realized that the Melanie Lynskey we get in I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore was not the soft-spoken, shy character she so often plays. She doesn’t reach superhero status, but she does kick some butt. Often accidentally, but still, she kicks butt. Lynskey was fabulous in this. I was pleasantly surprised by her. She should have the leading role in many more films.
In the second part of the movie Ruth and Tony chase around causing mayhem while going after her stolen goods. She figures out exactly who broke into her house. Christian (Devon Graye) is the thief. She takes the information to the cops. They do nothing.
Ruth and Tony go to what they think is Christian’s house pretending to be police. It’s actually his father’s house. His step mother (Christine Woods – a scene stealer if there ever was one) lets them in and serves them coffee. Things don’t go well. Ruth can’t get no satisfaction. On the way out she steals some yard art.
The third act of the film is the gory thriller conclusion. Christian comes looking for his daddy’s yard art. Ruth is kidnapped by the thieves and taken back to Christian’s father’s house where she’s forced to carry a gun and pretend to rob them.
People get run over by buses, limbs are shot off, guts are perforated, brains are blown out. Ruth and Tony make the most ridiculous of getaways.
Macon Blair wrote and directed I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore. It was his first try at directing. He also had a small part in the beginning as an asshole in a bar who tells Ruth the ending of the book she’s reading.
I shouldn’t have liked this film so much.
It was a genre mix up. Most of the minor characters were oddballs in the extreme. (Kudos to the actors who played these characters.) Elijah Wood’s Tony was as inept at martial arts as he was at the rest of his life.
It was unpredictable. Every turn was a surprise. That worked for me.
Most importantly, Melanie Lynskey was terrific. She was perfect. Since Moonlight won the world we know that low budget indies can make it to the top. I’d love to see Melanie Lynskey nominated for some awards for this film. Thank you to Macon Blair for writing this woman – a beer swilling, depressed cynic who takes control of her life and becomes an ass kicker. The film was crazy, but the lead character was genius.
I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore is currently streaming on Netflix.