Film Explores Leaving Home

Letting our children go is something that just doesn’t come naturally, no matter how well adjusted a family might be, or how perfectly mapped out the futures of our offspring might appear.  I just finished watching an excellent movie called Winter Solstice, a 2004 release, starring Anthony Lapaglia, which dealt admirably with this topic, without drawing any conclusions or making any judgements about how the inevitable division should occur.

Winter SolsticeThe father, Jim Winter (Lapaglia) and his two teenage sons, Pete and Gabe, are trying to make the best of things, five years after their wife/mother was killed in an auto accident.  The focus of the film is the relationship between the father and his sons, both of whom are struggling with the death of their mom, and their individual futures.  Toward the end of the movie, the older son, Gabe, announces his intention to leave the family home in New Jersey, and move to Florida.  Jim Winter is not very happy with his son’s decision, and there is an emotional scene, in which the father and son basically go at one another, up close, face-to-face, screaming and shouting at each other. The scenario was painfully reminiscent of a similar scene involving my father and me, many, many years ago, when I announced that I was leaving home.  Suffice it to say that I left, and the relationship suffered a temporary interruption, but eventually resumed satisfactorily, albeit on a different level—a more adult one.

It’s generally accepted that men don’t communicate emotions well, especially when it comes to revealing feelings of love for one another.  This is especially true when it comes to fathers and sons (I can’t speak to relationships between mothers and daughters, although it has been my observation that theirs is a different kind of interaction, more in line with sisterhood).  Ironically, my dad was quite open with his love, and I never had any doubt about his feelings for me.  Our difficulty arose from his inability to relinquish control, which I imagine, for his generation, was something that was quite common.  In many ways, my generation (quasi-baby boomer; I was born in 1945) is the first “modern” generation that truly left the nest, both emotionally and physically.  The extended family that previous generations experienced, where most everyone lived within an hour’s drive from one another, is a fast-fading memory.  It highly unlikely that we will ever see that type of familial concentration again, and that is a shame.  But, as the handlebar-moustachioed stranger in The Big Lebowski said, “. . . aw, look at me, I’m ramblin’ again.”  

Anyway, check out Winter Solstice, and see if it doesn’t resurrect some thoughts about your own leaving home (maybe you’ll share some of them with us).   I think perhaps it might, and I think you’ll enjoy the flick!  Note: It’s available for streaming on Netflix (and, I’m guessing, elsewhere).

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About AuthorJoePerroneJr

I am a former professional fly-fishing guide, and I write the Matt Davis Mystery Series, which presently consists of five books: As the Twig is Bent, Opening Day, Twice Bitten, Broken Promises and Deadly Ransom. The series is set in the real town of Roscoe, NY, in the Catskill Mountains, where I guided for ten years. I love fly fishing, movies, cooking (and eating), and music. To learn more about me and my writing, please visit my website at:
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4 Responses to Film Explores Leaving Home

  1. Allie P. says:

    Both my mom and one of my sisters lives in biking distance. It’s nice to go and experience someplace new, but there has been more than one occasion that I have been grateful to have family close by.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you! One of the things I’ve always lamented was the unintentional breakup of my father’s large, extended Italian family. When I was a kid, EVERY holiday was celebrated with family. All told, there were 13 cousins, 5 aunts, 5 uncles (my mother & father included), grandma, and grandpa (my father’s stepfather). We all lived in Brooklyn. Gradually, one-by-one, each couple moved away, and subsequently, the cousins scattered to all parts of the US. Due primarily to financial constraints, I have not been able to physically stay in touch the way I would liked to, and that has been hard for a people person like me.
    The good news is that thanks to the Internet and technology, I am able to remain connected at least in a cyber fashion. Facebook (that old double-edged sword) allows me to feel like family again. And, watching my granddaughter grow up via Face Time may not be ideal, but it beats not having any contact at all, and for that I am most grateful. Life on our planet continues to evolve, but it seems that the more progress we make, the further behind we fall in one important aspect of life: interpersonal relationships. I wonder what my grandmother would make of all this?


  3. balroop2013 says:

    Hi Joe,

    Your observations about relationships touched me deeply as I have always felt that families should be together, if they can interact with affection. I wonder what goes wrong when the sons and daughters become adults and who invented the tradition of leaving their parents in the name of freedom or independence! I feel they walk away from their most loving relationships into the trap of unknown ones, to be manipulated and bounced around ( to use a more kind word. ) They may find some solace in living a free life but they leave the parents rudderless, to seek happiness within, struggling with detachment. But that is what the world is!
    Thanks for guiding me to your blog. I liked it.

    Liked by 1 person

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