Writer-director Usher Morgan’s short film, Homebound, delicately handles the severe nature of mental illness.
Our tale opens with Jamie (Katie Vincent) on the phone with the authorities pleading for help with her runaway therapy dog. Jumping back a spell, we learn Jamie has severe agoraphobia and has not left her apartment for quite some time. During her regular in-home visit with her therapist, Dr. Ackerman (Sebastian Arcelus), he recommends that Jamie get a dog. He believes caring for an animal would force Jamie to step outdoors for the dog’s sake. For a moment, it works until her pup runs away.
“…believes caring for an animal would force Jamie to step outdoors for the dog’s sake.”
The heart of Homebound is in Katie Vincent’s performance. Striving for respectful authenticity, Vincent walks us through every agonizing step Jamie faces with the prospect of leaving her apartment. Each step is emotionally and psychologically painful, and the end result of failure is equally devasting. This pain and devastation are felt in Vincent’s acting, which is gut-wrenching to watch. A striking visual of Jamie in full-face makeup in a bathtub is haunting to behold and worth the price of admission.
Morgan’s script is not-so-simple either. He brings a great deal of complexity to the story of his protagonist attempting to step out the front door. The missing dog plot is Jamie’s great motivation to forge forward as her “security blanket” goes missing. Then there’s a great act of betrayal that complicates matters further.
Homebound puts us directly in the shoes of the over four million affected by paralyzing agoraphobia today. It forces us to empathize with people suffering from a disorder that most of us would disregard. It asks us to give compassion and support in the end.
"…puts us directly in the shoes of the over four million affected by paralyzing agoraphobia today."