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. ... Written by
The original script called for the Guster song "All the Way up to Heaven" to be used in the "car" scene that used the Guster song "Rainy Day" instead. See more »
When Sam is on the roof and talking to Josh, whom Alyssa has volunteered to help, we see a partially digitally erased plane fly out from behind his right ear. A few seconds later, when we cut back to Sam the same ghost of a plane is visible to the right of his head and flying right to left. See more »
I have hated this house from the moment my father put it in my name. Imagine, 29 years of hating what you're living in, hating what you *are*. This is the end of it, Sam. I'm finally building something of my own. Something I can be proud to give you.
Don't. I don't want it.
Fine. You can do what you want with it. All I want you to remember is that we built a house together.
You didn't build shit. You're just tearing your father down.
That's right. It feels good.
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"Life as a House" is not an easy film to watch. Its story is piercingly poignant, sometimes depraved, and unbearably sad. If you insist on flashy amusements and naive happy endings in your films, this is not for you. If you are "real" though, about the dynamics of our troubled lives, then it is for you. And if you are sensitive, then this is a film you can only watch about once a year.
It is well written, directed, and acted, especially by Kevin Kline and Kristin Scott Thomas. Hayden Christensen gives us the same believable anger, sullenness and pathos as his Anakin Skywalker character did in Episode II; maybe better. He makes a good troubled teen. And Jena Malone is good with the script she is dealt.
I'd recommend this film to anyone.
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