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Life as a House (2001)

R | | Drama | 9 November 2001 (USA)
2:18 | Trailer

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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.



3,805 ( 2,021)
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 2 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »



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


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


$27,000,000 (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
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Did You Know?


The featured house had to be removed after filming, but costume designer Molly Maginnis led a group of parents that had it dismantled, reconstructed, and enlarged to become a library for the Kenter Canyon school in Brentwood, California. The new library opened in April 2004. See more »


When nurse #1 strokes George's cheek, she reaches out with her left hand to do so. The shot over her shoulder shows her stroking his cheek with her right. See more »


George: You know the great thing, though, is that change can be so constant you don't even feel the difference until there is one. It can be so slow that you don't even notice that your life is better or worse, until it is. Or it can just blow you away, make you something different in an instant. It happened to me.
See more »


Referenced in The Dirties (2013) See more »


Soluble Words
Written by Ken Andrews
Performed by On
Courtesy of Columbia Records
By Arrangement with Sony Music Licensing
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Hayden Christiansen's performance as Sam
14 June 2003 | by (Newfoundland) – See all my reviews

People have said that Hayden Christiansen's performance was whiny and unbelievable, but, speaking as a 16 year old, I have to say I found it more believable than any other actor portraying a teenager ever. He was angst-y, angry, especially his parents, moody, distrustful, etc. And that's everything we are. Speaking as an expert whiner, yes, teenagers really are that whiney and we are that mad at the world and Hayden pulls off the anger and frustration perfectly. Some of the lines he said were familiar to me because I've heard them before in my own home. Hayden's performance was no less than stellar and he perfectly acts the rebellious, outraged teenager of the 2000s. I should know. :)

103 of 120 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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