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My Way Home (1978)


Warning: screenonline full synopses contain 'spoilers' which give away key plot points. Don't read on if you don't want to know the ending!

Christmas-time in a local authority home in Edinburgh, a few years after the Second World War. Mr Bridges, who runs the home, attempts to bring some festive cheer to the children, but his efforts are resisted by Jamie. When Jamie's father arrives to take his son back home to Newcraighall, Mr Bridges warns the boy that he is unhappy about his returning, but Jamie doesn't respond, and leaves with his father and the woman friend he has brought along, and who is dropped off before they reach Newcraighall. Jamie leads his father to the 'pearls' he had previously hidden, but they are revealed to be valueless, and his father throws them away.

Escaping from the scene of marital discord that greets them on their return, Jamie returns to his paternal grandmother's house. His grandmother, who now lives alone and in squalor, gives him a copy of David Copperfield, which Jamie reads, but then tears to shreds when she accuses him of removing her name from the inscription she has written. Jamie's father attempts to get Jamie to go down the pit, while his wife is horrified when Jamie says he wants to be an artist. He returns to the home, where Mr Bridges makes an unsuccessful attempt to find him work, and then to arrange a foster parent for him.

After a miserable time in a Salvation Army hostel, Jamie returns to Newcraighall, only to find strangers and a deserted house where he used to live. A few years later his National Service takes him to an RAF base in Egypt, where he meets Robert, an educated Englishman. Jamie retains his solemn demeanour, and much of the time is taken up with menial or seemingly pointless tasks, but Robert's friendship shows signs of awakening in him an interest in life in general and the arts in particular. They visit the Pyramids, go to the cinema, and admire the architecture of a mosque. Talking about what they will do when they return, Robert says that he'll probably go to university, while Jamie repeats his desire to be an artist, adding maybe a film director. When they are about to leave Robert gives Jamie his address, telling him that he can call it home.