As the fourth month of the pandemic comes to a close, it can begin to feel like there is no end in sight. The adjustment to living in isolation looks differently for everyone. In the Netflix original series “Homemade,” creators across the globe capture a variety of genuine experiences and emotions felt while quarantining. The series gives viewers a peek at how people of all ages are surviving in self-isolation. From a young girl’s imaginary discussions to a man’s struggle with monotony, the diversity of each episode will keep audiences engaged and waiting for more. The episodes are less than 10 minutes each and can be watched in any order, making “Homemade” perfect for college students looking for a new series to binge-watch. Here are five reasons why “Homemade” is a must-see:
1. There is a message of hope
In the third episode, a mother records a tribute to her 5-year-old son, which she hopes he will look back on and remember the joys of being a child, even while in the middle of a pandemic. She reminds him to hold on to the memories of “sunset excursions … slaying neon dragons and an endless supply of ice cream” instead of the difficult moments of boredom and missing his friends. This tribute is a beacon of hope for a generation that feels cheated of important experiences and reminds individuals that this time is fleeting — looking back on it will surely be sweeter than it feels.
In the episode, “Naomi Kawase,” a boy in Japan considers the fragility of life and routine. He ends on a hopeful note, saying, “A result has a cause. This is only the beginning of the story.” While the pandemic has affected many college students in what is supposed to be the best years of their lives, the director reminds the audience that this time period is only the start of self-reflection and growth.
2. “Homemade” is relatable in one way or another
The episode titled “Kristen Stewart” features the former “Twilight” actress depicting the madness that stems from isolation. Prolonged loneliness inevitably causes individuals to go stir-crazy, which makes her account especially relatable. Through quick flashes of manic movements and conflicting voices, the audience catches a glimpse at how quarantining alone can wreak havoc on one’s mental health.
Similarly, in the segment “Sebastian Schipper,” the director portrays the hardships of a repetitive schedule while stuck inside. The episode illustrates the day-to-day routine of a man whose only company is his own. The man cooks the same meal each day and finds ways to keep himself entertained, even playing cards with himself. Running out of activities to do is a dilemma that most people are all too familiar with at this point in quarantine. Feeling stuck in an endless loop of doing the same thing day in and day out with no company is a universal sentiment captured perfectly in this episode.
3. The genuine stories are heartwarming.
In the ninth episode of “Homemade,” the show reveals how the pandemic has completely altered the life of an almost 16-year-old girl. To see what a teenage girl values in this unprecedented time is to understand what really matters in life. At one point, she says, “The first thing I want to do when this is all over is give everyone a hug. I want to give Granny a hug.” Cherishing family is a recurring theme in the series and serves as a gentle reminder for viewers to think of their loved ones and reach out to those they haven’t spoken to in a while.
4. It highlights the creativity of those staying inside
The masterminds behind each of these episodes are truly inspiring. In the 16th installment, “Sebastián Lelio,” a woman creates a metafictional musical within her home conveying how the pandemic has altered humanity. The lyrics and message are strikingly clever and showcase the talent of a director and crew without a budget or studio to record.
In the episode “Nadine Labaki and Khaled Mouzanar,” a father records his small daughter, Mayroun, as she plays in an imaginary world. It is an authentic account of a little girl finding a fun way to keep herself entertained while quarantined inside. Through cartoonish overlays and sound effects, the director creatively enhances the childlike nature of this video. In many ways, the series impeccably represents the ingenuity of those stuck in isolation with nothing but a computer, camera and time.
5. It is a reminder of the small moments gifted to us.
While stuck inside with her family during quarantine, the director of the short film “Gurinder Chadha,” reconnects with her family and grieves for her deceased family members, including her mother. The episode is both heartfelt and reflective of the things that are easy to take for granted during this uncertain time. She celebrates her religion and passes traditions down to her children, like the Sikh remembrance prayers and cooking aloo parathas. The director begins to cherish the time she can spend with her children and feels thankful for this time to mourn her loved ones. It is easy to feel suffocated while stuck at home with parents and siblings, but the show reminds viewers to take advantage of this time. Though it is hard to be thankful while trapped in a childhood home or isolated alone, many episodes from “Homemade” encourage viewers to appreciate the changes that have accompanied the pandemic.
After watching the series, viewers not only feel more comfortable with the feelings they’ve experienced during isolation, but also feel connected to others around the world. The undeniable talent of the directors commissioned in this series makes each episode worth watching at least once. The iPhone videos, Skype meetings and drone footage are creative new mediums that indicate a promising future for filmmaking remotely. “Homemade” acutely portrays universal truths in unique and entertaining short films.