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Housekeeping (1987)

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After their mother commits suicide, two sisters end up living with their kind but peculiar aunt in their grandmother's old house in a small 1950s town.



(novel), (screenplay)
2 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Andrea Burchill ...
Anne Pitoniak ...
Aunt Lily
Barbara Reese ...
Aunt Nona
Margot Pinvidic ...
Bill Smillie ...
Betty Phillips ...
Karen Elizabeth Austin ...
Mrs. Paterson
Mrs. Walker (as Delores Drake)
Georgie Collins ...
Tonya Tanner ...
Young Ruth
Leah Penny ...
Young Lucille
Brian Linds ...
Deputy Sheriff


In the Pacific Northwest in 1955, two young sisters, abandoned by their mother, wind up living with their Aunt Sylvie, whose views of the world and its conventions don't quite live up to most people's expectations. Written by Ron Kerrigan <mvg@whidbey.com>; edited by Peter Victor

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The story of a woman slightly distracted by the possibilities of life. See more »


Comedy | Drama


PG | See all certifications »




Release Date:

5 February 1988 (Sweden)  »

Also Known As:

Azo Min Doda  »

Filming Locations:



Box Office

Gross USA:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


The film takes place in 1955. See more »


Mrs. Jardine: She looks so sad.
Sylvie: She is sad. She should be sad.
Sylvie: I don't mean she should be. I mean, who wouldn't be? That's how it is with family.
See more »

Crazy Credits

"For Marilynne and Fred and their two wonderful boys" See more »


Pacific 333
Music by Alain Leroux
Studio G Ltd
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User Reviews

more haunting than whimsical
28 November 2010 | by See all my reviews

Two orphaned sisters growing up in a small Northwest mountain town during the Great Depression drift apart when the eccentric habits of their itinerant guardian aunt (Christine Lahti) push one to the shelter of social conformity and draw the other outside, to an uncertain but more exciting life apart. The film was sold as another of Bill Forsythe's whimsical comedies, but the humor is overshadowed by the lingering memory of loss and dissatisfaction: a grandfather's tragic death, a mother's lonely suicide, and so forth. Likewise there isn't anything funny about Aunt Sylvie's deeply rooted vagabond instincts (expressed, for once, as something more than merely charming or quaint), which attract the more introverted sister (narrating the details) as strongly as they repel the rest of the community. It's a haunting, almost melancholy film, carefully paced to the rhythms of small town life in hard times, and with a fascinating undercurrent (note the irony of the title) equating the freedom of the open road with the liberation of women from domestic dependency. The final image, after Sylvie has introduced her niece to a life of wanderlust, is enough to lure the hobo out of any viewer.

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