Household Saints (1993)
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It doesn't matter if your Greek, Jewish, Irish, or Italian, you begin to see your own families heritage and culture unfold. As a second generation Italian-American Catholic, it brought back a flood of memories of tradition, grandparents, family gatherings, superstition, and the struggle to assimilate in America.
Household Saints didn't get its share of publicity and the actors/actress didn't get the recognition they deserved for their brilliant performances.
It was a nice surprise to find a small film that spoke so largely about life and what it (life) means to us individually. One need not be catholic or Christian, Italian or ethnic to appreciate the layers of understanding and perspective that the characters birth on-screen.
For myself, and my friend, it opened a dialog. We related to the characters in different ways. As we shared what we experienced, we learned that we wanted to see the film again. I wanted to see what she had seen, and she wanted to see what I had seen. We did agree on one thing: We both found the film to be a jewel.
Even if you aren't religious, you can get something out of this film. It really speaks to the power of faith and love, as well as the dangers of desire both expressed and repressed. It speaks of the depth of despair and how each of us deals with it. I am inclined to read the book from which it was derived.
Every performance is delightful and as a Vincent D'Onofrio fan it was a joy to see him in a "normal" character for a change. I did find it amusing that he played Lily Taylor's father in this film and few years earlier played her boyfriend.
I just want to say that the honeymoon scene is well worth it for any fan girrrrls of D'Onofrio, which I am a rabid one. He looks great and plays the horny gentle butcher to perfection, as he does every part he plays.
Watch this film even if you aren't a fan of some of the actors.
Even so, stars like Ullman and Taylor, who both have cult like followings should have brought greater interest which should be reflected here.
Nevertheless, this is a thoughtful, odd, unpredictable, and quite profound film. You may be bored at times, or disgusted at others, or dismissive even more. But it all works as a whole. Much of this success is owed to the extraordinary cast, really top flight.
I don't know if this is the film that really launched Lily Taylor to the wider audiences but it certainly worked for me. I have yet to see a finer screen performance by an Amercian actress that what Ms. Taylor gives us here.
Well worth seeing.
So for me it was a pity that they had to tell the story this way. Because it all started off so good. The movie has a great atmosphere from the beginning. I felt sorry when Tracey Ullman painted the walls in this crass yellow and took away this flair of Italian kitchen. I enjoyed most moments of the strange marriage of Tracey and Vincent D'Onofrio and I basically could buy their daughter's story, too. Though I think we've seen that story quite too often, most notably in "Mermaids", where I was more comfortable with it.
When I started to feel disturbed by the story, what cheered me up were Tracey and Vincent as the aging married couple. That was the ultimate prize, just grand!
Taylor (Teresa) and Ullman (Cathrine) played their parts fairly well.
The Italian American culture is fairly well captured except for the grandmother. She was way over the top caricature. Been around the culture my entire life and I've not encountered a Carmela Santangelo (grandmother), ever.
Jesus was a humdinger... Physiologically the wrong continent and with an English accent and concerned with his wardrobe? Could not stop laughing.
What was the point of Nicky Falconetti's character and Madame Butterfly? Another aspect of guilt. This time real guilt vs. imagined or made up by the church, guilt.
Didn't figure out whether Nancy Savoca (director) was making fun of the Catholic church and the psychological damage it creates for sensitive and impressionable people (especially around sex) or if she was seriously looking at sainthood in the 60s. Liked that, kept me wondering.
She did make some very poignant digs at the Catholic church, especially through D'Onofrio's mouth.
"Household Saints" is flawed and quirky but well worth my time and maybe yours.