A new Home in Manchester

I don’t normally do reviews of venues or films but today I’m making an exception on both counts.   Before I go on, please know this is entirely voluntary and I haven’t been asked to promote this venue or film.   I just enjoyed it so much I felt I wanted to let others know it’s there.

Regular readers will know that my wedding anniversary was this week and my husband and I decided to go out to the pictures for our annual ‘date night’ or whatever the kids call it these days.   We are (I am) creatures of habit and the original plan was a meal at a local steak house followed by a film at our local cinema.  Alas, Harry Potter happened.   All local cinemas were closed to anybody who did not adore the Potter.    So, we looked further afield and I remembered once visiting a lovely little arthouse cinema in Manchester called The Cornerhouse.    The website showed it was now called Home but it still showed films.  Perfect.   We were able to book food and we were on our way.

It was only on the day itself that we realised The Cornerhouse was no more and Home was actually a brand spanking new venue complete with an independent theatre, three cinema screens, a café bar, a restaurant, and some crafty, eventy spaces too.    Now, regular readers will also know I am afflicted by a certain tendency towards shyness and big complex-type places are not always the ones I find myself drawn towards.   Indeed, I was a little apprehensive when I learned I would not be sitting in the cosy little arthouse theatre.  But, I’m a big girl and I put on my bravest face as we headed for somewhere in Manchester.

I’m not from Manchester.  My mum is, but I’m not.  Over the last few years we’ve spent a lot of time in the city as we both had family living there and we don’t live far away.    I like to think that, had I been a city bird in my younger days and been all Carrie Bradshaw-esq, I would have chosen Manchester as my city of choice.  But even in cities you know, there are always hidden gems and Home is certainly a gem although when its upon you, not quite so hidden.

We were late arriving due to ‘all the traffic’ and had to run from our car in the not very nice rain but when we arrived, it felt like we had stepped into a genuine arthouse movie.  There were people everywhere, milling around, being very busy but not in an intimidating way.   There was a buzz of general excitement about what was to come.  I realised later the crowd before us in the lobby were mostly awaiting a much-anticipated theatre show starring Niamh Cusack.   The box office was like no other cinema box office and it felt more like we were approaching front desk at a beautiful hotel.   Up a flight of stairs we found the restaurant and although again very busy, this was actually one of the most comfortable restaurants I’d ever been in.  The restaurant was surrounded on two sides by floor to ceiling windows, giving the impression of a very grand space.  The waiting staff were kind and welcoming and, although we didn’t have much time before our film, the food came quickly and was just gorgeous.

Our film was in Cinema 3.   Unlike mainstream cinemas, there was no popcorn shop here. No.  This was arthouse, baby.   We were able to buy a nice coffee, an alcoholic beverage (in plastic cups), posh crisps or a posh bags of sweets.   I would imagine this is a pretty easy cinema to clean.

Everybody looked trendy but not in any planned way.  They were a bohemian set, older and younger.  Lots of beards, long cardigans, and nice kitten-heel boots.  Sometimes worn together.

So, off we went to Cinema 3.  The usher outside warned us it was a sell-out performance.   We took this to mean it might be a bit of a crush to get a seat inside.   We were wrong.    Quickly learning that there was nothing average, expected or mainstream about Home, entering Cinema 3 felt a bit like how I imagine it might be entering a private screening of a film, in the home cinema of somebody very wealthy with a cinema in their home.  It was small, intimate, cosy and quaint.  And although it was, as the usher correctly said, a sell-out, we had no trouble finding a seat.

And then the film began.  Tom Ford’s Nocturnal Animals.  I will leave the professional reviewing for the professional reviewers but let’s just say it was a very beautiful, disturbing, complicated, strange and moving film.   If you get a chance to see a film that isn’t Potter this Winter, make it this one.   It is the tale of a wealthy Art Gallery owner and what happens when her ex-husband sends her a manuscript for a disturbing novel he has written and dedicated to her.   See it, please.

All good things must come to an end and eventually the film finished, we ran back to our car in the rain, put on the radio and drove back to suburbia.

Suffice to say, I fell in love with a new place last night and will certainly be going back.   If you live in Manchester and you haven’t been there yet, what’s wrong with you? Get over there.  If you don’t live in Manchester, go.  You won’t regret it.    It felt like we were in another world just for one night.  I realise this sounds dramatic and gushy but I can’t praise this place enough.

For just a few hours, we stepped out of real life and into our very own arthouse movie.   Perfect.

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