Home Fires Burning (1989) Barnard Hughes, Sada Thompson, Robert Prosky, Bill Pullman, Elizabeth Berridge, Neil Patrick Harris Movie Review

Home Fires Burning (1989)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Barnard Hughes and Neil Patrick Harris in Home Fires Burning (1989)

Small Town 1944

Summer 1944 and local paper publisher Jake Tibbetts (Barnard Hughes) knows very well that the brave men who went of to war to fight for the country will be returning and be looking to resume where they left off. That also includes Jake's own son Henry (Bill Pullman) who he disowned before he went off to war as it was whilst drink driving Henry had an accident which left him a widow and left Jake and his wife Pastine (Sada Thompson) raising their inquisitive grandson Lonnie (Neil Patrick Harris). Despite his bitterness Jake is best friends with Rosh Benefield (Robert Prosky) the father of Henry's late wife and who doesn't blame Henry for what happened, refusing to be bitter like Jake. Things start to come to a head when Francine (Elizabeth Berridge) shows up at the Tibbetts' doorstep claiming to be not only Henry's new wife but carrying his baby.

I will stop there because "Home Fires Burning" is one of those Hallmark movies which tapped into the nostalgia of America at the end of WWII and how the war affected families from loved ones returning changed men to others not returning, leaving some children to be raised by their grandparents. And as such it is on a par with many other similar movies which tap in to the same period and sense of nostalgia. But like with other similar movies I didn't connect with it like I am sure those who experienced this period first hand did.

Neil Patrick Harris and Sada Thompson in Home Fires Burning (1989)

But this isn't just a movie about the nostalgia of the era as "Home Fires Burning" has various moments of drama which punctuate things from a plane flying down the street to a funeral for a soldier which turns out not as anyone would ever expect. There are more and all these events alongside back stories certainly create some entertainment but for some reason none of this really managed to grab me. In fact some of these moments of drama feel a little out of place and contrived.

What did grab me the most about "Home Fires Burning" is the sheer class of Barnard Hughes and Robert Prosky, both convincing as two men who have been friends all their life and probably know more about each other than a husband and wife would. They alongside Sada Thompson are just perfect especially when it comes to Jake and his wife playing the devoted grandparents raising their grandson, which of course I should say is another good appearance from a young Neil Patrick Harris in a TV movie.

What this all boils down to is that "Home Fires Burning" is an entertaining Hallmark drama but for me is nothing more. It is some thing I have found often to be the case with American movies about small town life at the end of WWII as they don't connect with me like they do for others.