By Doug Brunell | September 4, 2004

This documentary sets out to dispel the typical rumors that swirl around that nearly dead institution known as the orphanage. You’ve heard these rumors. They involve child abuse, meals a step above dog food, torn clothing and neglected kids. They aren’t true, but it doesn’t mean the children in the homes (who sometimes call themselves “homers”) had it easy.

Through interviews with people who grew up in various orphanages, this film details what life was like there and how the children ended up in that situation, which sometimes included staff members who weren’t qualified to care for children and life threatening illness. These orphans formed communities amongst themselves, however, and that was all they needed. There seem to be more happy memories than painful ones, and all the subjects appreciate what these homes did for them.

The stories in “Homecoming” are often very touching, funny and sometimes just plain sad. None of them will make you pity these people, though. These kids turned out all right, and none of them seem bitter about their childhood. How many of us can say the same?

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