Help for the Homeless
Mike (Jeff Daniels - Terms of Endearment) and Zan Cooper (Christine Lahti - Housekeeping) along with their two children were happy enough, they weren't rich but they made ends meet and Mike was attending night school to become a licensed electrician whilst also working at as an apartment maintenance guy. But then after a night out they return home to discover the apartment building on fire and all there stuff along with Mike's tools destroyed along with it. With no insurance and little in savings Mike begrudgingly agrees to move in with his brother but with tensions rising Mike has enough and they end up first sleeping in their car, then trying to camp before ending up living in a shelter and despite Mike's pride relying on welfare.
Have you ever been so down on your luck that you have had to sleep rough in your car in the middle of winter whilst having to shop late at night so what little money you have can be spent on food reduced because it is going out of date? I know what that feels like and it is not a nice experience and it is not one I would want to wish on anyone else. Fortunately in my case I only had myself to look after whilst "No Place Lime Home" features a family hitting rock bottom and not being able to see a way out of it.
Now as such I kind of like "No Place Like Home" as whilst my circumstances were different I can sympathise with what the characters go through. And it has to be said that "No Place Like Home" is painfully realistically when at the centre of it is a man who is proud having been brought up to be the bread earner and not ask others for anything. To those who have never experienced the situation it might seems unbelievable but to understand what being this level of broke does to someone makes you realise how true it is especially Mike as he falls into a state of self loathing and depression. But we also see how the others in the family are affected as we see how his son is segregated at school with other kids whose family are on welfare.
As such Jeff Daniels delivers a powerful performance as a proud husband who doesn't want to be on welfare and wants to work his way out of the mess. Watching how it affects him, how he is prone to bursts of anger as he feels life is kicking him in the gut is very real. But at the same time Christine Lahti is just as good as his wife who despite having to deal with her husbands stressed out ways loves him enough to believe that he will get them out of their predicament whilst trying to keep things running.
What this all boils down to is that "No Place Like Home" is a powerful drama but I feel its power only really represents itself to those who know what it is like to be completely broke and desperate.