A Sort of Homecoming (film)

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A Sort of Homecoming
Official release poster
Directed byMaria Burton
Written byLynn Reed
Produced byMarcus Lyle Brown
Yvette Marie Brown
StarringMichelle Clunie
Laura Marano
Parker Mack
Katherine McNamara
Kathleen Wilhoite
CinematographyArlene Nelson
Edited byLai-San Ho
Susan Vaill
Music byAndrew Morgan Smith
  • Believe Entertainment
  • Coming Home Productions
Distributed byMarVista Entertainment
Release date
  • March 14, 2015 (2015-03-14)
CountryUnited States
Budget$3.4 million[1]

A Sort of Homecoming is an American drama film directed by Maria Burton and starring Katherine McNamara, Laura Marano, Parker Mack, Michelle Clunie and Kathleen Wilhoite.[2][3] It premiered March 14, 2015 at the Omaha Film Festival.


The protagonist, Amy Hartington returns to her home town in Louisiana from her career in New York City as a news producer at CZN (a fictional cable news network) upon request of her high school debate coach. In flashbacks, she recalls her senior year, the politics surrounding debate competitions and her relationship with Nick (Parker Mack), her debate partner.[4] Upon returning to her former coach's house, she finds that the woman is bed-ridden, hooked up to medical devices, and is attended by visiting nurses. She arrives as one of those nurses ends her shift, and drinks herself to sleep, where she dreams of a party with all her old classmates and teachers. Upon waking from this dream, she retells her coach the story of how she joined the debate team.

Amy is an adopted child, and is frequently the target of pranks from her older siblings, as well as less than favorable treatment by her parents. She spends more time within her 1972 Pontiac Catalina coupe than her family home. At school, her debate coach, Annie Landry assigns Nick Stayson as her partner. Nick is the star debater at the school, but while being sought out by the very cable news network that Amy works for today, he also has a tumultuous family life with an abusive father who works on an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico. On their way to the debate camp, Amy and Nick bring money to her older sister, who is apparently a single mother, and later pick up a young girl at the airport from Stuyvesant High School in Brooklyn named Rosa Conti who is also sent to help them.

While listening to Rosa make a speech, she becomes convinced that she is in over her head and flees. Later on Rosa spots her on a bench and talks her into staying at the camp. Meanwhile, CZN News Reporter Bill Tarrity seeks to make a news report on High School Debate making Nick the star of his story, and the camp gives him a permission slip for his parents he knows his father will never sign. Under the guise of seeking research material, Nick and Amy flee the camp, and she talk him into a night on the town in New Orleans. During the night they discuss their family situations, including an incident when he and his mother went to the 1984 World's Fair, and end up encountering his father at home who went on an abusive tirade against the two of them.

Rosa's brother Dylan visits the camp, along with the Susan Levine, a CZN producer working on Tarrity's impeding news story. Dylan is in the process of making a documentary about a man who discovers Cajun bluegrass music, after hearing a concert by Gatemouth Brown, and also takes a liking to Amy. After a speech by Rosa, Susan recruits Amy for some interviews on the structure of high school debate. As the report on Nick and his life on the debate team is about to begin, Nick's father arrives at the school with his mother in tow, brings the permission slip and burns it in front of him with a cigarette lighter. Nick flees the camp in embarrassment.

Returning from the debate camp, she finds that she's being coerced into going to her cousin's wedding and stumbles about a sealed envelope with her adoption information. Rather than going to the wedding she drives to her teacher's house, urging her to read the letter due to her own anxiety about the adoption. To help her deal with her anxiety, Annie tells her about a period in her life after the death of her son where she went on an emotional rollercoaster and took a trip to Valencia where she discovered Falles and felt comfortable with returning to school.

Annie sends Amy and Nick as representatives of their school for a competition in New York City, but due to school budget cuts can't go with them. Upon their arrival, Rosa invites them to stay at her family's apartment, and Dylan takes her up on the roof secretly trying to make out with her, but she resists her advances. Annie calls from home and tells them that Nick's parents have denied him permission to go on the trip, and urges Amy to bring him home, but she secretly refuses to do so. After the phone call, Nick offers to help Amy meet a woman who might be her birth mother, but she's nervous about the potential encounter. Amy and Nick got to Brooklyn and enter the bar in hopes of finding her mother, and she orders a beer. She seems like she and the bartender are about to realize their relationship with one another when the cheers of other bar patrons watching a football game startle her, and she runs away with Nick following her. After her visit to the bar, the two youngsters discuss their future and their status. They decide to kiss passionately, and she surrenders her virginity to him.

Amy is now confident of victory after both her training, and her night with Nick at the apartment, until Nick unexpectedly flees the auditorium, never to return. Amy wins the debate without him. Returning to Lafayette, she finds that the school intends to take action against her and her coach for not coming home with Nick when his father wanted them to. She finally drives home, but has second thoughts about the potential encounter with her parents, and leaves home never to return.

The movie returns to the present day where Amy attends Annie's funeral with some of her former students, and back to work. Returning to Lafayette, she finds an old postcard from India signed by Nick to Annie indicating he was still fond of her, and later returns to her old school as a new debate coach.



Production for the film began in February 2014 and spanned much of the spring of that year. While a few scenes were shot in New Orleans, the majority were shot in Lafayette, Louisiana, hometown of the writer and producers.[5]


After playing film festivals for most of 2015, A Sort of Homecoming was released digitally in the United States by MarVista Entertainment.[6] The movie was made available online in various sources in the United States on May 10, 2016. Laura Marano told Twist Magazine, "At the core of it, A Sort of Homecoming is about this character finding herself, not only with her support system, but within herself."[7]

Awards and nomination[edit]

Year Award Category Nominee Result Refs
2012 WorldFest Houston Screenplay - Dramatic Original Lynn Reed Nominated
2015 Downtown Film Festival Los Angeles Best Director for Narrative Feature Maria Burton Won
2015 Omaha Film Festival Best Feature Maria Burton & Lynn Reed 2nd place
2015 Remi Awards Rising Actress Laura Marano Won [8]
2015 Breckenridge Festival of Film Best Supporting Actress Kathleen Wilhoite Won [9]


  1. ^ "Fastlane NextGen: Initial Certification Search" (Type "A Sort of Homecoming" in the search box). Louisiana Economic Development. Archived from the original on June 15, 2020. Retrieved March 10, 2023.
  2. ^ Lynda Edwards, "Cue the Atmosphere", Lafayette Daily Advertiser, February 19, 2014
  3. ^ Aaron Couch, "Katherine McNamara Joins Debate Drama", The Hollywood Reporter, January 30, 2014
  4. ^ "Get a Sneak Peek of Laura Marano and Katherine McNamara in A Sort of Homecoming", Just Jared Jr., January 16, 2015
  5. ^ Amanda Bedgood, "A Sort of Homecoming", The Ind, March 3, 2014
  6. ^ "Film Review: A Sort of Homecoming | Hollywood News Source". hollywoodnewssource.com. Retrieved May 20, 2016.
  7. ^ Kristine Hope Kowalski, "Exclusive: Laura Marano Dishes on Her New Movie, 'A Sort of Homecoming' ", Twist Magazine, May 12, 2016
  8. ^ Ng, Philiana. "2015 Announcing Best Actor and Actress Nominations for WorldFest–Houston 48th".
  9. ^ "Breckenridge Film Festival – Breckenridge Film Festival". Breckenridge Film Festival. Retrieved April 27, 2016.

External links[edit]