have read so many reviews of "Life As A House" and
have come to the conclusion that the critics seem to be pretty
well split--they either love it or hate it. I've heard
some say it is the best film since "American
Beauty", while I have heard others say it plays like a
Lifetime TV movie of the week. I judged for myself.
"Life As A House" is an
unusual movie. Kevin Kline stars as George Monroe, an
overworked, estranged man who finds out that he doesn't have
long to live. So, he decides to pursue his lifelong
dream of building a home. Sounds easy, huh? Wrong.
George finds contentment from family, friends, neighbors, and
the authorities--all seeming to not want the house built.
The building of the house is a metaphor for George's life and
George is portrayed in a touching, comedic, and miraculous
performance by one of the greatest American actors today,
Kristin Scott Thomas co-stars as George's ex-wife who use to
share his dream of building the house. Hayden
Christensen stars as George's dark clothes wearing, pill
popping son Sam, and the vivacious Mary Steenburgen stars as a
sexy neighbor, pretty much reprising the same role she had in
"What's Eating Gilbert Grape?" Director Irwin
Winkler does a fantastic job of not letting this film get too
sappy--it could have easily turned into another "Sweet
November" or "Autumn in New York", but steered
clear of such a disastrous end.
comedy in this film is so sincere and so unexpected at time
that there is a visible natural chemistry between all of the
actors, especially between Thomas and Kline. Steenburgen
is delightful, as always, and Hayden Christensen pulls a
tour-de-force in his first major film role.
After seeing the film, I sat down and re-read some of the
reviews for the film and realized that most of the critics who
gave the film a negative review were evidently expecting
something completely different. I don't know if they
went in expecting a hilarious comedy or what, but they missed
the entire point of the film altogether. I must agree
with the critics who lean towards "Life As A House"
being the best film since "American Beauty", even
though I don't totally agree with that.
"Life As A House" makes you laugh, makes you cry,
and make you re-evaluate the relationships you maintain with
your family. The outcome of the film is inevitable and I
don't want to give anything away that the trailers already
don't, but let's just say there was not a dry eye in the
theater when I watched it. This film is extraordinarily
touching and truly one of the best films of the year.
( 4 out of 4 pops )
about this film with other Popkorn Junkies