Not everyone who leaves home will feel homesick and struggle with the thought of going back vs. living on their own and doing their own thing. Some just pack up and go and see their family during the holidays and such, and others never look back. That’s the case for Robert Downey Jr.’s Hank Palmer in The Judge. After leaving Indiana and becoming a successful lawyer in Chicago, Palmer is drawn back to his hometown after years of never saying a word to the family left behind for his mother’s funeral.
While at home he reconnects with a past hook-up and tries to help his father stay out of jail after an accident leaves someone dead. Why I chose this movie is to show that not everyone leaves with the idea in their head that people are going to miss them, but at the same time – when and if you do connect – you’re going to realize that there was a lot of time wasted not being around one another. All those years Palmer wasn’t in Indiana, he never called or cared to. He was estranged from his family and only death brought him back in the first place? That’s the other extreme of when you never leave in the first place and are too close. There has to be a balance between the two.
When we talked about those who still live at home, the idea that their parents couldn’t move on and live their own lives came up. They, as well as the adult children would always be stuck in the parent/child role they had come to know if both parties didn’t move onto the next level. How can your parents look at you as an adult when they still do your laundry? Remember that? Here we see an example of someone who went to the next level, but never bothered to step back down once in awhile. No matter how grown you get, your family is a part of your life and to just leave them in the dark seems to halter your growth as well; emotionally.
Luckily it wasn’t too late for Palmer to come together with his dad and make amends by the time he SPOILER croaked at the end of the movie, but at the same time – think of all the little things he missed when he was in Chicago. So while you should go out and make a life for yourself, you shouldn’t fail when it comes to seeing your family as much as you can, while you can. Find the balance. Like Matt, you want to do what you can to make your life worthwhile but at the same time – find time when you can to make sure those little things don’t pass you by too much.