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Life as a House (2001)

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8/10: No wonder Hayden Christensen got...
Tuesday, January 7, 2003

No wonder Hayden Christensen got that role in Episode II Life As A House tells the story of an aging man diagnosed with terminal cancer who makes one of those deathbed conversions from a hopeless slob and absentee father into someone who wants to reunite himself with his son and rebuild the shack that he has been living in for most of his life, much of which was spent with a wife that he had been promising a new house to throughout nearly their entire marriage.Hayden Christensen plays exactly the same role that he played in Episode II, a whiny little brat, with the exception that in this movie, he ultimately grows to love his father, who he has no relationship with and no desire to start one now. I saw Attack of the Clones before I saw Life As A House, and I think that part of Christensen's skill as an actor is that he can be...

4/10: Sappy tearjerker that goes for...
Friday, June 7, 2013

Sappy tearjerker that goes for the jugular and tries to bleed you dry. A neurotic architect suffers a severe nervous breakdown after loosing his job, smashing up all of his designs and ending up in the hospital where his ex-wife gives him therapy in the form of his punk rock, drug addicted son. Living in a shack in a beautiful cliff side community overlooking the Pacific Ocean, he wants to tear it down and build his dreamhouse, just like Cary Grant's Mr. Blandings in that classic screwball comedy with Myrna Loy.Almost a male "Terms of Endearment" (and even "The Miracle Worker" with father being Annie Sullivan to the son's drug-addicted variation of Helen Keller), this overkills on emotional manipulation in spite of some superb performances, especially by Kevin Kline. Ex-wife Kristin Scott Thomas is stuck with an emotionally blank husband (Mike Weinberg) who believes any sign of parental affection leads to weakness and has...

9/10: A Superb Movie About Relationships...
Monday, August 11, 2003

A Superb Movie About Relationships And Reconciliation It was the title that first intrigued me. What could this be about? I had never heard of it. Then I noticed that it starred Kevin Kline. With a title like that and Kline as the star I thought it was perhaps a comedy. I started watching it without really knowing what to expect. It was not what I had expected, and I was not disappointed. This was a superb drama, with Kline playing a man who has one last chance to reconnect with those he loves, and especially with his teenage son Sam (Hayden Christensen), who has become rebellious and disrespectful and drug addicted and who is tempted to spend his summer as a male prostitute to make some "easy" money.The story revolves around George's decision to tear down his old shack and to build a beautiful new house. He enlists (commands?) Sam's help for the project, and we...

3/10: Life As a Lousy Screenwriter...
Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Life As a Lousy Screenwriter. Life as a House (2001): Dir: Irwin Winkler / Cast: Kevin Kline, Hayden Christensen, Kristen ScottThomas, Mary Steenburgen, Jena Malone: Positioned as an art film yet it is too stupid and ridiculous for such praise. House is a metaphor for an enclosed life of a father who learns that he has cancer and decides to rebuild a cottage with his rebellious son in an effort to reconnect. We know with exact certainty that they will eventually bond, tears will flow, and the house will get built with the unenclosed toilet. There are many unnecessary subplots include the dog crap on someone's lawn; teenage girl next door who seduces the teenage son in the shower; her mother who has an affair with a teenager who falls off the roof. Not one of Irwin Winkler's better films. He previously made The Net, which is a far different film. Kevin Kline is superb as the father delivering...

5/10: Interesting most of the way...
Sunday, November 11, 2001

Interesting most of the way, but also kleenex material (Possible spoilers)Life as a House could've been a different movie if it hadn't been for the usual "I need a purpose since I'm going to die on cancer" plot line. It's 3rd act, and even a good amount of the 2nd act are surrounded by sappiness that didn't really need to be placed here. Kevin Kline plays a guy who is 45, now out of work from his architecht type job and has also found out another thing (listed in the first paragraph), so he decides to drag his druggie, detatched and sad son (Hayden Christensen) along with him for the summer to help him build his house. He cleans up his son, he turns him into a helper and along with more and more people (even his ex-wife played by Kristin Scott Thomas changes), and so on, and so forth, and so on...

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