7.5/10
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359 user 98 critic

Life as a House (2001)

R | | Drama | 9 November 2001 (USA)
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When a man is diagnosed with terminal cancer, he takes custody of his misanthropic teenage son, for whom quality time means getting high, engaging in small-time prostitution, and avoiding his father.

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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 2 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Josh
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Peter Kimball
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Officer Kurt Walker
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Nurse #1
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David Dokos
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Bryan Burke
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Bob Larson
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Tom
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Storyline

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 Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Seen from a distance, it's perfect.

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language, sexuality and drug use | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

9 November 2001 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Das Haus am Meer  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Budget:

$27,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$294,056 (USA) (26 October 2001)

Gross:

$15,561,627 (USA) (21 December 2001)
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Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The writer, Mark Andrus, is a fan of the band Guster, and named the dog after the band and two of the characters (Ryan & Adam) after two of the band members. Two of Guster's songs are featured in the movie. See more »

Goofs

When Robin looks for a dance partner, the boy's arms change position between shots. See more »

Quotes

Sam: [whispering] I'm not even listening.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Character Building: Inside 'Life as a House' (2001) See more »

Soundtracks

What You Wish For
Written by Ryan Miller, Adam Gardner and Brian Rosenworcel
Performed by Guster
Courtesy of London-Sire Records, Ltd.
By Arrangement with Warner Special Products
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

From a Different Perspective
19 November 2001 | by (New York, N.Y.) – See all my reviews

As predictable as this film is, it moved me in many ways. I am a single father, 58 years old, whose life largely revolves around a wonderful twelve year old boy. He'd better not go down the road of Kevin Kline's teenage kid or I'll kill him! (just kidding-don't call Child Protective Services just yet).

California Cinematic Dreamin' aside, the people here are real. Their vulnerabilities are in the open and they deal with each other as best they can. Kline's son is confused about more than his sexuality, far more. His first girlfriend accepts him and, more importantly, her own sexuality, with a maturity in no way undermined by a delightfully playful demeanor.

As in similar films, the viewer has to suspend reality when the doomed character accepts his fate with no mention of palliative, much less curative, medical intervention. His condition is never fully described but a quick, distant shot of murmuring doctors examining x-rays (x-rays? No MRIs, CAT scans or PET scans in a CA hospital?) brings home that the architectural model builder has hit a brick wall.

The cast is first-rate - everyone plays his/her role convincingly.

The message of the film is, of course, the enduring need for community. And this celluloid community is moving and loving. A truly fine film. (Yep, I cried into my popcorn.)


75 of 84 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Jacking off in an armoire tiffy_lee
this sounds very jerky but is my one criticism of this great movie ms-catamaran
Emo confusion foure
The whole shower scene? brialashee
I loved the film and hated the ending! emmeliesofia
scene that moved me the most Angel_Of_My_Heart
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