Life as a House (2001) is a English movie. Irwin Winkler has directed this movie. Hayden Christensen,Kevin Kline,Kristin Scott Thomas,Jena Malone are the starring of this movie. It was released in 2001. Life as a House (2001) is considered one of the best Drama movie in India and around the world.
George Monroe (Kevin Kline) is a lonely and sad man. Divorced for ten years, he lives alone on the southern California coast with his pet dog in the same run down shack in which he has lived for twenty-five years, the shack which his father passed down to him. In the intervening years, ostentatious houses have sprung up around him. He's been at the same architectural firm for twenty years in a job he hates, which primarily consists of building scale models. On the day that he is fired from his job, he is diagnosed with an advanced case of terminal cancer, which he chooses not to disclose to his family. In many ways, this day is the happiest of his recent life in that he decides to spend what little time he has left doing what he really wants to do, namely build a house he can call his own to replace the shack. He also wants his rebellious sixteen-year-old son, Sam Monroe (Hayden Christensen), to live with him for the summer, hopefully not only to help in the house construction, but ...
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Life as a House (2001) Reviews
From a Different Perspective
As predictable as this film is, it moved me in many ways. I am a single father, 58 years old, whose life largely revolves around a wonderful twelve year old boy. He'd better not go down the road of Kevin Kline's teenage kid or I'll kill him! (just kidding-don't call Child Protective Services just yet). California Cinematic Dreamin' aside, the people here are real. Their vulnerabilities are in the open and they deal with each other as best they can. Kline's son is confused about more than his sexuality, far more. His first girlfriend accepts him and, more importantly, her own sexuality, with a maturity in no way undermined by a delightfully playful demeanor. As in similar films, the viewer has to suspend reality when the doomed character accepts his fate with no mention of palliative, much less curative, medical intervention. His condition is never fully described but a quick, distant shot of murmuring doctors examining x-rays (x-rays? No MRIs, CAT scans or PET scans in a CA hospital?) brings home that the architectural model builder has hit a brick wall. The cast is first-rate - everyone plays his/her role convincingly. The message of the film is, of course, the enduring need for community. And this celluloid community is moving and loving. A truly fine film. (Yep, I cried into my popcorn.)
Surprised this didn't get more recognition
"Life as a House" is not an easy film to watch. Its story is piercingly poignant, sometimes depraved, and unbearably sad. If you insist on flashy amusements and naive happy endings in your films, this is not for you. If you are "real" though, about the dynamics of our troubled lives, then it is for you. And if you are sensitive, then this is a film you can only watch about once a year. It is well written, directed, and acted, especially by Kevin Kline and Kristin Scott Thomas. Hayden Christensen gives us the same believable anger, sullenness and pathos as his Anakin Skywalker character did in Episode II; maybe better. He makes a good troubled teen. And Jena Malone is good with the script she is dealt. I'd recommend this film to anyone.
Hayden Christiansen's performance as Sam
People have said that Hayden Christiansen's performance was whiny and unbelievable, but, speaking as a 16 year old, I have to say I found it more believable than any other actor portraying a teenager ever. He was angst-y, angry, especially his parents, moody, distrustful, etc. And that's everything we are. Speaking as an expert whiner, yes, teenagers really are that whiney and we are that mad at the world and Hayden pulls off the anger and frustration perfectly. Some of the lines he said were familiar to me because I've heard them before in my own home. Hayden's performance was no less than stellar and he perfectly acts the rebellious, outraged teenager of the 2000s. I should know. :)
About Putting Your "House" In Order
Somebody once said that `life' is what happens when you're not looking. And it's so true. Too often we let the years slip by, and the important things slip right along with them; and it's only when something happens that we start to pay attention, and by then it's too late to do anything about it. The good news, however, is that as long as you're still breathing there's still a chance to make amends, or at least try to. You can try, not to make up for past mistakes (and we've all made them), but to make `today' count, which is what a man at a particular juncture in his life discovers and sets out to do, in `Life As A House,' directed by Irwin Winkler, and starring Kevin Kline. George Monroe (Kline) is an architect, a man who can design anything, with the exception of that which is the most important: His own life. He has a failed marriage-- now divorced for ten years from Robin (Kristin Scott Thomas)-- a failed relationship with his now sixteen-year-old son, Sam (Hayden Christensen), he's getting on in years and he's unhappy, which is driven home by circumstances involving his job and his health that make him abruptly sit up and take notice. His `house,' literally and figuratively, in not in order. And he decides to do something about it. He's determined to tear down his old house and rebuild a new one, and he begins by arranging for Sam to come and live with him for the summer. And it will be a summer that will affect, not only George and Sam, but Robin, and a number of others, as well; a summer in which the trivial things of life are put on hold; and for once, the important things are embraced. Working from a well written and insightful screenplay (by Mark Andrus), Winkler delivers a drama that is thoughtful and poignant (at times, even poetic), wonderfully acted and beautifully filmed by cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond. Rich in metaphor, it's an engrossing film that works on a number of levels, and will appeal to a wide audience-- many of whom will relate to George and his situation, others who will identify with Sam; and for some, it may hit strikingly too close to home. Whatever your personal situation is, it will fall somewhere within the emotional arc Winkler creates here; and if it doesn't now, it will eventually. Because, as this film so trenchantly points out, `life' happens. And the most important thing is knowing what to do with it-- if not the first time around, then at least before it's too late. He received an Oscar for his portrayal of Otto in the comedy `A Fish Called Wanda,' but Kevin Kline decidedly hits his stride in dramatic roles: As Nathan in `Sophie's Choice,' Mack in `Grand Canyon' or Ben in `The Ice Storm,' for example; and now here, as George Monroe. Kline brings George believably to life, with a performance that hints at who George was, but most importantly tells us who he is now. With understated subtly, he conveys his inner-most feelings in a way that enables the audience to make that all-important emotional connection with the character. He makes you feel as though you know him; and once you do, and once you meet Robin, it's hard to understand what went wrong between them all those years ago. One can only assume that somewhere along the line youth and a lack of focus took it's toll-- understandable in a world that bombards us daily with endless stimuli. And it's one of the subtle perspectives that makes this film so effective. Kristin Scott Thomas gives a convincing performance, as well, as Robin, a woman who has moved on with her life, but in whom you can discern a certain dissatisfaction with her current situation. On the surface, her life seems agreeable, but we see through her portrayal that it is still lacking in some regard. She seems happy to some extent, but it's more like the unfulfilled happiness that comes when one has `settled' for something. You get the sense that what she has with her current husband, Peter (Jamey Sheridan), is somehow less than what she had with George, at least at some point or other. Thomas does a good job of indicating the complexities of her character, dipping beneath the surface to make what could have been a one-note character alive and interesting. One of the real rewards of this film, however, is found in the wonderfully affecting performance of young Hayden Christensen, as Sam. With but a few TV appearances and a handful of unremarkable films to his credit (the exception being a part in Sophia Coppola's `The Virgin Suicides'), Christensen is virtually an unknown, but comes through with some extremely impressive work here. He not only finds, but manages to convey, that turmoil of confusion and need for personal identity that every teenager experiences, and he presents it quite naturally and effectively. There's nothing feigned or pretentious about him; the Sam he delivers comes from somewhere deep down inside, and working from the inside out makes him very real and believable. It's a performance that should jump-start his career, which is about to be catapulted into high gear/high profile status when `Star Wars: Episode 2, Attack of the Clones' hits the screen, in which he plays the role of Anakin Skywalker. And because of the magnitude of that film and all that goes along with it, he will never receive the acclaim he deserves, no matter how good a job he does in it; so it's important that he has this film under his belt, which demonstrates what a truly gifted young actor he really is, a fact that may be overlooked once `Clones' hits (which is what happened to Leonardo DiCaprio after `Titanic'). And Christensen's performance here is a big part of what makes `Life As A House' a winner. I rate this one 9/10.
I am a college professor and teach a variety of psychology classes, general, adolescent, child, human relations, etc. I have shown this movie to every class and it never fails to grab everyone's attention. Every time I see it I find something else to admire...usually a line I've missed previously. It took about 10 times for me to pick up on "Thinking of jumping? No, pushing." Granted, I'm slow. It is a film that every parent and child should see, together. The acting is meticulous. Hayden Christensen is so good as a troubled teen that I hated him as Darth Vader. He will always be Sam. If you aren't crying or fighting back the tears than you obviously were born without a heart. Oh yes, I'm a father.