It’s exciting to see Shyamalan on such confident footing once more, all these years later.
There are lot of characters coming to terms with things in "A Country Called Home." There's a single father whose ex-wife is an alcoholic and drug addict. The two married and had a child just out of high school, and now he's working long hours to provide for his son and his mother, who is also an alcoholic. The mother just lost her common-law husband—if one even can call their relationship that, considering that she's still married to another man—after he suffered a stroke as a result of decades of heavy drinking.
The protagonist of "A Country Called Home" is the deceased man's daughter. She left her father as soon as she was able to do so, and now she has come to Texas from her home in Los Angeles to lay to rest the man she has spent most of her life hating.
The movie also throws in a transgender singing cowboy who, in his first scene, gets a beer bottle thrown at his head for daring to try to entertain people at a local dive bar. Continuing the theme of people slowly but surely killing themselves, the troubadour's mother, whose first appearance is in a hospital bed suffering from a diabetic coma, is eating her way to an early death on account of a diet consisting mainly of unhealthy food.
The easy criticism here is that the screenplay by director Anna Axster (her debut feature) and Jim Beggarly provides too many characters, but that's not quite right. It's clear that Axster and Beggarly have put some thought into how these characters are connected in ways that go beyond the informal familial bonds that tie them together.