To this day, i know approximately three people that have ever heard of Life As A House, and i can assume is purely because of my continuous string of positive buzz surrounding the film. Sadly, nine years later and the film remains as one of the most underrated dramas i've ever had the pleasure to come across. Here's hoping this article does it justice!
New York City born and Oscar winning director Irwin Winkler (De-Lovely) teams with writer Mark Andus (As Good As It Gets) and brings us Life As A House, the story of a man whose life takes an unexpected turn once fired from his architect job the same day he's diagnosed with terminal cancer, giving him a mere couple of months left. Destined to turn his life around, he attempts to fulfill his lifelong wish of demolishing his poor excuse of a house and build an entirely new building, with the hopeful help of his drug-addict, goth son whose relationship has slowly eradicated over the years.
Kevin Kline stars as George Monroe, a father and ex-husband. Playing the role beautifully, the character sets off with simply wishing to build a house with his son, a tangible object he can leave behind. What George unintentionally accomplishes is building and repairing the relationships of those around him, including ex-wife Kristin Scott Thomas. Essentially, the film is a tale of redemption and love.
While the film may teeter on the edge of the overly sweet, it's undeniable that the final product will tug on many heart strings. Deeply moving, George's growing relationship with his ex-wife and son are alone enough to make for essential viewing, with Kline and Scott Thomas' chemistry proving incredibly relatable and always heartwarming. Co-stars Jena Malonen and Mary Steenburgen are also a delight to watch.
While his character's whiny nature is understandable, Hayden Christensen doesn't seem to stray from his frankly annoying need to act with such a vacant expression, proving more wooden than the planks in which they're building the house with. The film also falls into the predictable catagory, but you can't win at everything can you?
"One of the most powerful dramas of the year" - 60 Second Preview
"Life as a House is no cinematic masterpiece but it stays with you" - Josh Gilchrist, Billings Outpost
"Achieves an intimacy rarely seen in a star-laden Hollywood drama" - Chuck Rudolph, Matinee Magazine
Check below for a trailer for Life as a House.