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
Lindsay Lohan, who was 14 years old at the time of production/casting, was strongly considered for the role of Alyssa and even screen tested for it. While the filmmakers were impressed with Lohan, they ultimately gave Jena Malone the part, deciding they wanted someone a little bit older. See more »
When Sam removes the stud from his chin, it leaves neither a hole nor a scar. See more »
[Alyssa has just kissed George]
Why did you do that?
When you were dating my mom you seemed like a really good kisser. Oh god, she'd die if she found out.
Let's shut up and let her live.
See more »
A Superb Movie About Relationships And Reconciliation
It was the title that first intrigued me. What could this be about? I had never heard of it. Then I noticed that it starred Kevin Kline. With a title like that and Kline as the star I thought it was perhaps a comedy. I started watching it without really knowing what to expect. It was not what I had expected, and I was not disappointed. This was a superb drama, with Kline playing a man who has one last chance to reconnect with those he loves, and especially with his teenage son Sam (Hayden Christensen), who has become rebellious and disrespectful and drug addicted and who is tempted to spend his summer as a male prostitute to make some "easy" money.
The story revolves around George's decision to tear down his old shack and to build a beautiful new house. He enlists (commands?) Sam's help for the project, and we watch as the house (and the relationship) begins to take shape. The journey toward reconciliation in this family is captivating. Kline was absolutely outstanding as George, in what must have been one of his finest acting performances, and one of the best I've seen in a long time. Christensen was almost as good as Sam. The movie also has a strong supporting cast to help out, with folks like Kristin Scott Thomas, Mary Steenburgen, Jena Malone and Scott Bakula all adding to the story.
I found the very beginning of the movie just a bit hard to get into for some reason, but once I was into it I was absolutely hooked. There are times of joy and times of sadness, and the theme of reconciliation running through the whole movie (and dealing not just with the relationship between George and Sam but with various broken relationships) is a powerful one. This was a very, very pleasant surprise.
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