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
I don't usually go for family melodrama movies, but this one had superior acting and so many small unexpected touches that I found myself genuinely caring about movie characters...which is very rare for me. The scene with George and Robin dancing with Sam looking on is heartbreaking, given what we know will ultimately happen.
Kevin Kline is like the rock of Gibraltar, Kristen Scott Thomas is not capable of a wrong move, and Hayden Christensen is outstanding. A word of warning: be on your guard for the father and son surf scene. It appears about three times in the movie, with additional emotional significance each time.
Rating: 8 on 10.
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