Life As A House (2001)

logoDirector: Irwin Winkler

Writer: Mark Andrus (Screenplay)

Starring: Kevin Kline, Kristin Scott Thomas, Hayden Christensen, Jena Malone, Mary Steenburgen, Mike Weinberg, Scotty Leavenworth, Iam Somerhalder


Plot: George Monroe 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 he has lived in 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, to live with him for the summer, hopefully not only to help in the house construction, but for the two to reconnect as a family.


Verdict: Beautiful Drama


Story: Many people watch as their lives pass them by and our hero George is one of them, he gets a chance to make up for all the mistakes over a couple of months. We see how a family is reconnected over one summer, how the problems in each life are solved with this time. It really leaves you asking the question about how you are living your life correctly or not and makes you wonder what you would do if you only had a short amount of time. (8/10)


Actor Review


Kevin Kline: George Monroe anti-social loner living on a beach front house working a boring job in his eyes. After he gets fired he also gets diagnosed with terminal cancer. This prompts him to do his one last dying wish and build his house for his son. This is a great performance from Kevin showing the full range of emotions going through the summer. (9/10)


Kristin Scott Thomas: Robin Kimball, George’s ex-wife who has moved on with her life and started a new family but because she is struggling with their son she accepts George having him for the summer. While over the summer she starts to become close with her ex-husband. Good supporting performance. (8/10)


Hayden Christensen: Sam Monroe a druggie closed off to the world son of George. He just wants to spend his time getting high and hanging out with his friends, he gets forced to stay with his father where he starts to enjoy his life and grow up in this last summer. This could easily be Hayden best performance of his career to date. (9/10)


Director Review: Irwin Winkler – Beautifully created drama about enjoying life to the fullest before it is too late, making sure you end up happy at the end of it. (9/10)


Drama: Brilliant drama showing how things in life are not always as simple as they seem. (10/10)

Settings: Most of the film is set at the house being built which makes for a great setting. (9/10)

Suggestion: This is one to watch, you will be satisfied by the end of the film. (Watch)


Best Part: The fact it gets better as the film continues.

Worst Part: You only see bits of the supporting stories.

Believability: It could be a real life event. (6/10)

Chances of Tears: You may have some by the end. (5/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No


Awards: Hayden Christensen was nominated for Best supporting actor by the Golden Globes.

Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $24 Million

Budget: $27 Million

Runtime: 2 Hour 4 Minutes

Tagline: Seen from a distance, it’s perfect.


Overall: Drama With Heart

Rating 85



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