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A young hippie takes LSD, accepts the universe, and learns that no kinds of love are better than others—theater director Michael Mayer’s first film could have been adapted from a David Crosby song. Its title, however, indicates its actual provenance: A Home at the End of the World began as a novel by Michael Cunningham, who also wrote The Hours. Like the movie that resulted from that book, A Home is tastefully upscale, intermittently silly, and haunted by death in a not especially haunting way. Protagonist Bobby loses his first family, which is suburban and nuclear, and then his second, which is nontraditional and polysexual, yet nothing can kill his buzz. As a 9-year-old in 1967 Ohio, Bobby watches his beloved older brother—the one who gave him the acid—bleed to death. Soon after, the unlucky lad’s parents expire one by one, so Bobby moves in with the family of his ungainly best friend, Jonathan. The boys experiment together sexually, and Bobby initiates his sheltered surrogate mom (Sissy Spacek) into marijuana and Lauro Nyro. Eventually, Bobby grows up to be Colin Farrell and follows Jonathan (Dallas Roberts) to early-’80s Manhattan, where Yaz has supplanted Jefferson Airplane. Bobby’s now-poised foster brother lives with and loves histrionic hippie-punk Clare (Robin Wright Penn) but has sex with lots of men. The three become a loving, if sometimes conflicted, unit, and Clare and Bobby even have a baby, Rebecca. An alt-culture, alt-sex alternative to the standard bourgeois hetero weepie, A Home accumulates some sweet moments, but they’re offset by thin characterizations and glib developments—especially after the miscast Farrell takes over the role of Bobby from the younger Erik Smith. The confident teenage charmer who explained cuddling and kissing with Jon as “just love, man” is suddenly a clueless 24-year-old virgin. Perhaps Mayer and Cunningham (who scripted) thought they had to keep Bobby a wide-eyed naif so that his oh-wow moments wouldn’t be laughable, but they are anyway. The funniest one comes when Clare introduces Bobby to Steve Reich’s Music for 18 Musicians, which highlights A Home’s greatest misstep: While attempting to substitute a teeming soundtrack for emotional depth, the filmmakers somehow excluded Crosby’s “Triad,” a song that, for all its hippie-era sanctimony, sketches a love triangle much more efficiently than this shallow movie does.—Mark Jenkins