An unseen narrator looks back to 1956, on Staten Island, when Buddy, an Italian guy with big dreams, buys a house planning to live upstairs with his wife Estelle and run a bar downstairs. The first problem is Estelle's lack of confidence in Buddy. Then, Irish tenants upstairs refuse to move and won't pay rent; plus, the woman upstairs is about to have a baby. The next problem is the baby: once he's born, it's clear his father was Black. The Irish guy splits; Buddy evicts mother and child, then feels guilt and sets her up in a flat while she sorts out an adoption. Estelle's lack of faith, the Irish lass's spirit, Buddy's dream, racial prejudice, and the baby's fate play out. Written by
This is a wonderful film, that deals with the challenges of ethnic stereotypes and the cultural biases that go with them. Stereotypes are a definite by-product of culture, yet for the most part, usually the worst expressions of a particular culture. In adhering to our birth culture we invariably absorb certain stereotypes, and biases, without even realizing it. People therefore become stereotypical to a greater or lesser degree, depending upon their independence of thought, and self-awareness. The less independent minded, or self aware we are, the more stereotypical we may become.
Two Family House is a very well-crafted drama, involving interactions between, an Italian couple, an Irish couple, and an anonymous African American man. The chain of events triggered by their interaction, gives birth to a beautiful love story involving the Italian husband of one couple, and the Irish wife and her child, of the other. Challenged by events that pushes them to the limits of their respective cultural sensibilities, the film portrays how these individuals for various reasons, either succumb to, or transcend, the biases, they were born into. The beauty of the movie is that it shows that through tremendous effort and resolve, it's quite possible to break free of cultural stereotypes, and the irrational hate, that invariably goes with them.
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