The story behind Touching Home is more inspiring than the film itself, but don’t let that deter you. It’s the kind of can-do miracle that reminds us all that anything can happen and everything is possible. Produced, written, directed by and starring Logan and Noah Miller, two good-looking identical twins whose father died on the floor of a jail cell without saying goodbye, the film is a labor of blood, sweat and love that fulfills a vow to someday celebrate his legacy. When their dreams of being baseball stars faded, they worked at any job they could find, including as roofers, bingo callers and models, but through one setback after another, they remained undeterred in pursuit of their goal. Touching Home is the impossible true story of how they finally did it.
Without a dime, reading only one textbook on how to write a screenplay, they spent eight years living on 17 credit cards to bang out their story. It was rejected by hundreds of agents, producers and studio executives. Then, with no acting experience, no contacts in the movie industry and a car that looked like a crushed sardine can, they cornered Ed Harris in an alley in San Francisco and convinced him to play their father-a homeless alcoholic who lived in his truck and had been slowly killing himself for 25 years when he died at age 59. He was a lousy father; he even stole the boys’ life savings for gambling and booze. But they never stopped loving him. They wrote a book about the whole experience-warts, tears, prayers and all-that’s beautifully, often hilariously detailed. Either You’re in or You’re in the Way is even better than the movie and makes a witty, worthy companion piece.
Touching Home is economically condensed, well photographed and skillfully acted by a superb cast. The Miller brothers never miss a beat. Not one word seems forced or irrelevant. The film is about their hardscrabble relationship with their father and the pride he could never express-not how they made a movie about it. Ed Harris is terrific, and the supporting cast includes Robert Forster as the sheriff who was once their baseball coach and Brad Dourif as an uncle who makes his living on deposits from bottles and cans. The story has been fictionalized; the family is called Winston, and the brothers are now Clint and Lane (Noah Miller is the one with the missing tooth). This is a shame, because the real story is so much more awesome. Still, this is a worthy film-engrossing, sincere and very carefully made. If ever there was a vital endorsement of the American dream, this is it. And if ever there was proof that miracles still happen, Noah and Logan Miller have created their own legend. I hope Touching Home is just the beginning.
Running time: 108 minutes
Written and directed by: Logan and Noah Miller
Starring: Logan Miller, Noah Miller, Ed Harris, Robert Forster, Brad Dourif
3 Eyeballs out of 4