It’s not difficult to figure out why ABC plopped Finding the Way Home into a dead-of-summer spot. Here is an unhip, traditional drama that is not based on a sensational real-life crime and features no young, hot stars. In other words, what a relief If only this TV movie were a little bit better.
Home stars George C. Scott as 60-year-old Max Mittelmann, owner of an old- fashioned hardware store. ”Old” is the recurring word here — Max is feeling his age, his business is failing, and he’s no fun for his young-at-heart wife (Beverly Garland). Depressed, he takes a late-night drive and his car skids into a tree. When he comes to, Max can remember only his first name; he wanders into a camp of migrant workers led by Ruben (Hector Elizondo).
Ruben, who has an injured foot and detests his life spent picking farm crops and avoiding immigration officials, is a pretty depressed fellow himself, but he perks up when he meets Max. ”This is great!” he says cheerfully to the dazed Max. ”You’re worse off than me.” Ruben invites Max to stay at the camp until he gets his bearings.
The rest of Finding follows Max’s growing attachment to the migrant camp and his odd-couple friendship with Ruben. It all sounds unbelievably corny, I realize, but the low-key performances of both Scott and Elizondo do a lot to make the situation touching. Finding the Way Home, with its themes of wounded dignity and character sketches of lost, aging men, is like an Arthur Miller play without Miller’s structural rigor, but any TV movie these days that invites such a comparison has a fair amount going for it. B-