Two Ways Home – one family’s story of living with mental illness
Soul-touching and moving, Two Ways Home, compassionately follows Kathy (Tanna Frederick), a woman newly diagnosed with bipolar disorder who is released from prison on good behaviour and returns to her country home in Iowa to reconnect with her parents, her estranged 12-year-old daughter (Rylie Behr), and her elderly grandfather (Tom Bower). If there’s one movie you should see before we’re done with 2020, or to start the new year off right, this is it!
When in prison, Kathy receives counselling that indicates her erratic actions were motivated by her bipolar disorder. Once diagnosed and treated with medication, she learns her sentence is commuted and she is released back into the community, despite her objections to this decision. Upon returning to her hometown she realizes things have changed. Her parents are reluctant to welcome her back, here daughter holds a grudge against her, and her grandfather has suffered a heart attack.
She immediately bonds with her grandfather, who has also been diagnosed with a mental illness. Her mother and aunt want to put their father in a home, citing him incompetent, while Kathy fights to have him live out his last days at home with her. As she struggles to maintain balance with her condition, complications with her daughter’s well-being, he ex-partner, and her grandfather’s health, her sense of self-worth is tried to the limit. Yet, through self-acceptance and perseverance, she forges unexpected new levels of love and heroism.
This film gives a first-hand look into not only the mind of a bi-polar individual, but also the minds of those closest around them. How this illness not only affects the individual, but those who care deeply for their well-being – parents, children, and partners. Tanna Frederick is known for her strong performances in indie film, and this role is no exception. It’s interesting to note that she honed her acting skills under the direction of cult filmmaker, Henry Jaglom.
This film is real, and for anyone who’s struggled with mental illness themselves, or have experienced it with others around them, it’s all to true. For others, it’s an eye-opening experience that will hopefully open the topic for conversation. Tom Bower also gives a raw performance as the grandfather, and Joel West as Kathy’s understanding partner, Junior. This film goes deep into a topic that’s often not spoken about publicly, the shame, the shadows, the whispers, and the suffering are all fully exposed. The cinematography that captures the peaceful Iowa countryside most definitely adds to the production. Add it to your watch list now.
Director Ron Vignone masterfully showcases Iowa’s small town beauty and sympathetically highlights the importance of mental wellness and self-discovery, while star and producer Tanna Frederick shines as a vulnerable yet independent Kathy, immediately grabbing audiences’ hearts with her gritty persistence. The film has been officially endorsed by NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness).
The inspiration for Two Ways Home sprung from personal places for all the filmmakers. A labour of love on the part of the cast and crew, they were dedicated to making a story of depth and subtlety that revolves around a character who wrestles with the need for connection with her family, and the disconnect from her wavering mental health. Writer Richard Schinnow was compelled to write a Iowan story that, above all, honestly reflected the people he knew from the world around him. Vignone and Frederick crafted a film around this work wonderfully.
Frederick produced and starred in ‘Two Ways Home’ which garnered her several awards on the 2019 festival circuit, as well as an endorsement of the film by NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Health) for it’s storyline involving a character overcoming stigma associated with bi-polar disorder.
Releasing as VOD on December 29th, 2020. Available on iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, and most major streaming portals.
About the Author
Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist with a focus on travel, lifestyle, entertainment and hospitality. He has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews with musicians, actors and other public personalities. He enjoys discovering delicious eats, tasting spirited treats, and being mesmerized by musical beats.