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Life as a House (2001)

R  |   |  Drama  |  9 November 2001 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 37,998 users   Metascore: 45/100
Reviews: 356 user | 99 critic | 32 from

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 3 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Peter Kimball
Officer Kurt Walker
Sandra Nelson ...
Nurse #1
David Dokos
Bryan Burke
Bob Larson
Barry Primus ...


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


Seen from a distance, it's perfect.



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



Release Date:

9 November 2001 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Das Haus am Meer  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$18,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

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


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

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


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 »


At the sunbathing scene with Sam and Alyssa, the suntan lotion spot on Sam's left cheek appears and disappears. See more »


George: Build this house with me.
See more »


Version of The Last Dance (1993) See more »


Live a Lie
Written by Default
Performed by Default
Courtesy of TVT Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Depth of Characters is Superb
22 January 2011 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Though Kline and Scott-Thomas are the leads and show their chops that made them stars, Christensen shines so brilliantly that his talent is breath-taking. Each role is so well-portrayed that you're completely comfortable understanding the plot. The movie is challenging, thought-provoking, and intensely human, well-worth the attention of men who may presume that it's a chick flick. The action and adventure is in the challenge to deal with the plot. It's gut-honest, everyday life, involving situations we all deal with: intent, marital disharmony, second-guessing decisions we made, seeing the light, and desperate substitutes we use to deflect pain.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
this sounds very jerky but is my one criticism of this great movie ms-catamaran
Jacking off in an armoire tiffy_lee
The whole shower scene? brialashee
Emo confusion foure
scene that moved me the most Angel_Of_My_Heart
What's wrong with Sam? rayment8771
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