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In a small town in California's San Joaquin Valley, 14-year-old Homer Macauley is determined to be the best and fastest bicycle telegraph messenger anyone has ever seen. His older brother has gone to war, leaving Homer to look after his widowed mother, his older sister and his 4-year-old brother, Ulysses. And so it is that as spring turns to summer, 1942, Homer Macauley delivers messages of love, hope, pain... and death... to the good people of Ithaca. And Homer Macauley will grapple with one message that will change him forever - from a boy into a man. Based on Pulitzer Prize-winning author William Saroyan's 1943 novel, The Human Comedy, ITHACA is the quintessential wartime tale of the Home Front. It is a coming-of-age story about the exuberance of youth, the sweetness of life, the sting of death and the modesty and sheer goodness that lives in each and every one of us.

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Ithaca movie full length review - 'There will always be pain in this world, Homer. And a good man will seek to take the pain out of things.'

'There will always be pain in this world, Homer. And a good man will seek to take the pain out of things.

' William Saroyan's 1943 novel THE HUMAN COMEDY, a quiet, gentle statement of finding meaning in becoming a man, has been lovingly and subtly transformed into a film by Erik Jendresen and directed with straightforward simplicity by Meg Ryan. Some viewers fine this film slow and lifeless, but the true beauty of this little gem is that the actors, director, cinematographer and production crew allow it to let the tine slice of Americana speak for itself.

The year is 1942 and the film opens with black and white broadcasts by President Roosevelt about the tragedy of Pearl Harbor. We meet the Macauley family. Fourteen- year-old Homer Macauley (Alex Neustaedter) is determined to be the best and fastest bicycle telegraph messenger anyone has ever seen. His older brother Marcus (Jack Quaid) has gone to war, leaving Homer to look after his widowed mother (Meg Ryan ? his father appears as Tom Hanks), his older sister Bess (Christine Nelson) and his 4-year-old brother, Ulysses (Spencer Howell). And so it is that as spring turns to summer, 1942, Homer Macauley delivers messages of love, hope, pain... and death... to the good people of Ithaca. His telegraph office is run buy the elderly Grogan (Sam Shepard) and Tom Spangler (Hamish Linklater) who are supportive of their underage worker, offering sage advice and love to a frightened lad. Homer will grapple with one message that will change him forever. ITHACA is a coming-of-age story about the exuberance of youth, the abruptness of change, the sweetness of life, the sting of death, and the sheer goodness that lives in each and every one of us.

Put away your need for high action films and comic book heroes and CGI effects and re- visit a time in America when small towns reflected the strengths of youngsters and families affect by World War II. The film is deeply moving.