Life as a House (2001) Poster

User Reviews

Add a Review
356 Reviews
Sort by:
From a Different Perspective
Ralph Michael Stein19 November 2001
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.)
76 out of 85 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Surprised this didn't get more recognition
rantinghuman23 September 2004
"Life as a House" is not an easy film to watch. Its story is piercingly poignant, sometimes depraved, and unbearably sad. If you insist on flashy amusements and naive happy endings in your films, this is not for you. If you are "real" though, about the dynamics of our troubled lives, then it is for you. And if you are sensitive, then this is a film you can only watch about once a year.

It is well written, directed, and acted, especially by Kevin Kline and Kristin Scott Thomas. Hayden Christensen gives us the same believable anger, sullenness and pathos as his Anakin Skywalker character did in Episode II; maybe better. He makes a good troubled teen. And Jena Malone is good with the script she is dealt.

I'd recommend this film to anyone.
104 out of 119 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
9/10
About Putting Your "House" In Order
jhclues12 May 2002
Somebody once said that `life' is what happens when you're not looking. And it's so true. Too often we let the years slip by, and the important things slip right along with them; and it's only when something happens that we start to pay attention, and by then it's too late to do anything about it. The good news, however, is that as long as you're still breathing there's still a chance to make amends, or at least try to. You can try, not to make up for past mistakes (and we've all made them), but to make `today' count, which is what a man at a particular juncture in his life discovers and sets out to do, in `Life As A House,' directed by Irwin Winkler, and starring Kevin Kline.

George Monroe (Kline) is an architect, a man who can design anything, with the exception of that which is the most important: His own life. He has a failed marriage-- now divorced for ten years from Robin (Kristin Scott Thomas)-- a failed relationship with his now sixteen-year-old son, Sam (Hayden Christensen), he's getting on in years and he's unhappy, which is driven home by circumstances involving his job and his health that make him abruptly sit up and take notice. His `house,' literally and figuratively, in not in order. And he decides to do something about it. He's determined to tear down his old house and rebuild a new one, and he begins by arranging for Sam to come and live with him for the summer. And it will be a summer that will affect, not only George and Sam, but Robin, and a number of others, as well; a summer in which the trivial things of life are put on hold; and for once, the important things are embraced.

Working from a well written and insightful screenplay (by Mark Andrus), Winkler delivers a drama that is thoughtful and poignant (at times, even poetic), wonderfully acted and beautifully filmed by cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond. Rich in metaphor, it's an engrossing film that works on a number of levels, and will appeal to a wide audience-- many of whom will relate to George and his situation, others who will identify with Sam; and for some, it may hit strikingly too close to home. Whatever your personal situation is, it will fall somewhere within the emotional arc Winkler creates here; and if it doesn't now, it will eventually. Because, as this film so trenchantly points out, `life' happens. And the most important thing is knowing what to do with it-- if not the first time around, then at least before it's too late.

He received an Oscar for his portrayal of Otto in the comedy `A Fish Called Wanda,' but Kevin Kline decidedly hits his stride in dramatic roles: As Nathan in `Sophie's Choice,' Mack in `Grand Canyon' or Ben in `The Ice Storm,' for example; and now here, as George Monroe. Kline brings George believably to life, with a performance that hints at who George was, but most importantly tells us who he is now. With understated subtly, he conveys his inner-most feelings in a way that enables the audience to make that all-important emotional connection with the character. He makes you feel as though you know him; and once you do, and once you meet Robin, it's hard to understand what went wrong between them all those years ago. One can only assume that somewhere along the line youth and a lack of focus took it's toll-- understandable in a world that bombards us daily with endless stimuli. And it's one of the subtle perspectives that makes this film so effective.

Kristin Scott Thomas gives a convincing performance, as well, as Robin, a woman who has moved on with her life, but in whom you can discern a certain dissatisfaction with her current situation. On the surface, her life seems agreeable, but we see through her portrayal that it is still lacking in some regard. She seems happy to some extent, but it's more like the unfulfilled happiness that comes when one has `settled' for something. You get the sense that what she has with her current husband, Peter (Jamey Sheridan), is somehow less than what she had with George, at least at some point or other. Thomas does a good job of indicating the complexities of her character, dipping beneath the surface to make what could have been a one-note character alive and interesting.

One of the real rewards of this film, however, is found in the wonderfully affecting performance of young Hayden Christensen, as Sam. With but a few TV appearances and a handful of unremarkable films to his credit (the exception being a part in Sophia Coppola's `The Virgin Suicides'), Christensen is virtually an unknown, but comes through with some extremely impressive work here. He not only finds, but manages to convey, that turmoil of confusion and need for personal identity that every teenager experiences, and he presents it quite naturally and effectively. There's nothing feigned or pretentious about him; the Sam he delivers comes from somewhere deep down inside, and working from the inside out makes him very real and believable. It's a performance that should jump-start his career, which is about to be catapulted into high gear/high profile status when `Star Wars: Episode 2, Attack of the Clones' hits the screen, in which he plays the role of Anakin Skywalker. And because of the magnitude of that film and all that goes along with it, he will never receive the acclaim he deserves, no matter how good a job he does in it; so it's important that he has this film under his belt, which demonstrates what a truly gifted young actor he really is, a fact that may be overlooked once `Clones' hits (which is what happened to Leonardo DiCaprio after `Titanic'). And Christensen's performance here is a big part of what makes `Life As A House' a winner. I rate this one 9/10.
49 out of 55 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Hayden Christiansen's performance as Sam
artimes14 June 2003
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. :)
108 out of 127 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
10/10
Incredible movie
solohiker227 December 2005
I am a college professor and teach a variety of psychology classes, general, adolescent, child, human relations, etc. I have shown this movie to every class and it never fails to grab everyone's attention. Every time I see it I find something else to admire...usually a line I've missed previously. It took about 10 times for me to pick up on "Thinking of jumping? No, pushing." Granted, I'm slow. It is a film that every parent and child should see, together. The acting is meticulous. Hayden Christensen is so good as a troubled teen that I hated him as Darth Vader. He will always be Sam. If you aren't crying or fighting back the tears than you obviously were born without a heart. Oh yes, I'm a father.
69 out of 82 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
9/10
A Superb Movie About Relationships And Reconciliation
sddavis6311 August 2003
Warning: Spoilers
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.

9/10
47 out of 56 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
10/10
Depth of Characters is Superb
tolerford-122 January 2011
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.
7 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
10/10
Excellent
thcatburglar31 May 2005
Sense I've seen this move it has been my all time favorite! Not only do the actors play wonderfully, but the storyline of the movie is exquisite! It's about a Man(Kevin Kline) and his struggle in life with his job, family, and health. Through the move he gets in touch with his troubled son Sam(Hayden Christensen) and ex-wife Robin(Kristin Scott Thomas) a lot of anger in the beginning of the movie that transforms into smiles and laughter, it's amazing to see how the characters change so much. If you like to laugh and cry and all that good stuff you'll love this movie, Watch it, NOW! Although it truly is an excellent movie, I would not recommend this movie to anyone younger than 13, a lot of cursing, some drug usage and sexuality.
19 out of 23 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Lives in Need of Renovations and Re-Modelings.
tfrizzell27 October 2003
Warning: Spoilers
"American Beauty"-styled hybrid from director Irwin Winkler has middle-aged architect Kevin Kline discovering that he has terminal cancer and only a few months to live. Kline, divorced from wife Kristin Scott Thomas and estranged from teenage son Hayden Christensen, takes it upon himself to finally build onto a shack that he had inherited years earlier. Keeping his illness a complete secret, he forces Christensen to stay with him for the summer so he can learn to know the son who has become an enigma to him. Thomas also starts to see how Kline has changed back to the man she thought she had originally married to current-husband Jamey Sheridan's dismay. Also along for the ride is Kline's seductive neighbor (Mary Steenburgen) who has a secret of her own and her teenage daughter (Jena Malone). "Life As a House" is one of those movies that gets so emotional at times, but is almost lifeless at other intervals. Ultimately the outstanding ending (one of the better of the last few years for motion pictures) was enough to put this movie over the top with me. Kline is solid as always. Christensen ends up being the real revelation here though. He plays a very difficult part and he could have drowned in the role, but instead he becomes the production's strongest swimmer. Many shortcomings hurt here, but the good things definitely outweigh the bad. 4 stars out of 5.
16 out of 20 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Personally, the best movie i've seen.. EVER!
punk_angel2614 October 2004
Yes... my title says it all. this is my favourite movie and i'm not ashamed to say it. This movie is placed together very well, it not only explores a broken family, but a broken person fixed by the love of his dyin father. i watch this movie probably at least 3 times a month and it never ceases to make me cry. it's not so much the fact that the plot is emotional, but these actors make it seem so real, and although i know it's their job to do that, i think they have extremely well. I am, understandably an emotional person who has felt the loss of a parent at a young age, and i guess it's that in the movie which hits close to home. I would personally recommend this to anyone who wants a movie bout broken families, and reunited love. a tearjerker to those who feel the plot and brokenness of a boy and his journey.
56 out of 83 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
10/10
Life as A House was Amazing, Touched the Heart
Jessica Neale14 July 2005
Life as a house was a spectacular movie in my opinion and surely in a million other's opinions as well. Kevin Kline and Hayden Christensen were brilliant together and truly made this movie Excellent and Amazing. This Movie was Harshly Rated, I do not believe it should have been Rated R, and I hope that the rating has not discouraged anyone from watching it. It is a terrific movie that deals with very real problems in life and the miracle of Change. You have not seen a truly great movie until you have watched this film. Although this movie is an incredibly well-made Drama, it contains lots of humour and comedic elements that make you smile and laugh through-out the film. This movie will leave you with your heart a-flutter in your Chest. And the Desire to know more and see more. You Will Truly be left with a feeling of Supreme satisfaction and Dazzlement at how the film played out before your eyes.
20 out of 27 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Liked it in spite of myself
MoonsofJupiter4 October 2003
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.
5 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Balsa Wood
tedg11 November 2001
Warning: Spoilers
Spoilers herein.

What a great notion! What vapid execution.

Winkler is a veteran, and knows the long-discussed challenge of increasing the power of film by some clever introduction of space. All the great directors have had some whack at this challenge. Here's a rather direct try.

The great notion is to literally make a metaphor of a spatial structure. Build a story around the home. Toss in some `Ice Storm' meets `American Beauty' neighborhood shenanigans. (Consequently, make the neighborhood homes use vile architectural notions.) Place it on the ocean allowing a `freedom' extension to the metaphor for the characters to exploit.

You can just see Winkler's conference room brainstorming: make the hero someone who has spent his entire life creating models but never a real structure. What the heck, set it up so he gets fired the same day he gets a death sentence. Have the art department come up with a structure worthy of the metaphoric weight.

Get Kline, probably the best B-list physical actor, someone whose acting philosophy deliberately creates space around him. Use Zsigmond as cinematographer, a veteran who can stay on budget, keep things lavish and (perhaps most importantly) someone who is enthusiastic about spatial photography (like Welles' `Othello').

The house design that the designers came up with is extraordinarily apt. Just as one wishes `Waterworld' focused on that remarkable trimaran, one wishes that here Winkler would have spend less time on smaltz and more on the original, central metaphor: the house.

That house is post and beam construction which collects the weight in posts, allowing the walls to be non-loadbearing. Here, it allows the house to be transparent, directly supporting the metaphor. The posts are sculpted and exposed, using a mortise and tenon technique. Very clean and readable. There is clear Japanese influence in stacked lintels which makes the whole affair more airey. The Japanese notion of M&T is overtly sexual, and as here, often promiscuous. In short, the designers came up with a structure that is odd enough to be remarkable, very strongly reflects the metaphoric intent and happens to allow some effective framing of shots.

But alas, if it was used effectively, those shots were left behind.

Side comment: Steenburgen is a mistake -- because she is so good. She oozes mature sex in such a believable way she completely embarrasses the other two women. One is a child, but one the much celebrated Scott Thomas. Steenburgen's Oscar was no mistake.
9 out of 14 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
it´s a great film,great performance from kevin kline!
freewilly4ever1 May 2003
Life as a House..a great drama film starring Kevin Kline,Kristin Scott thomas and Hayden Christensen..directed by Irwin Winkler. i liked this film..great cast!

and the most of all....a superb performance from Kevin Kline.This man is incredible. this movie is great..hayden christensen delivered a good performance,but not great.

i recommended this film..!
2 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
7/10
The good and the, well, not so good
bigryguy8518 April 2005
Actually, that's a 7.5. Let me break it down for ya: The good: Kevin Kline... oh, Kevin Kline, he plays this part so naturally, and he definitely holds the entire movie together (which is needed, as it has a lot of loose ends). In fact, I could watch the movie again just to see his performance. Every word he says (even if it is a contrived "revelation" about living life to the fullest or something like that, which is the writer's fault, not his) oozes with humanity, and the scene in which he destroys his models after being fired will go down as one of my favorite scenes of all time...that's right... all time. Watch this movie for Kevin.

Scott Thomas: excellent actress, plays the part well, you struggle along with her during the emotional roller-coaster (sorry for that cringe-inducing cliché, and the one I just used to describe it). Her and Kline make quite the on-screen pair.

The metaphor: The house... it's SO obvious and in your face but I love it anyway. Tearing it down (as well as a lot of tearing down/coping with family history that is explored well in the movie, especially in an unbelievable scene between Kline and Christensen that ends beautifully like this... "Build this house with me.") Incredible.

The not so good: Christensen: I know, I know, everyone and their dog praises him in this role...I just don't see it. Whiny to the point of nausea...not in that "playing the character well" way but in a, well, nauseating way. He is saved by Kline in most scenes. Nothing much to see. And his character changes so quickly and unnaturally, which leads me into...

The writing: The first 75 minutes of the movie are, for the most part, so beautifully written... witty, touching, bloody emotional. The rest is filler (in my opinion). All issues are resolved easily and predictably. And the ending... I mean come on, why? In my head I pretend it was never there,it makes the movie better in hindsight, which, if I may quote the movie, is "like foresight without a future." Yeah, that was in the first 75 minutes.

I DO recommend this movie. Most of the performances are great, and there is some very good dialogue all over the place, just look out for the occasional giant heaps of maudlin fodder being crammed down your throat (alright, alright, it made me cry a little so it did its job.)
12 out of 24 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
1/10
cliche after cliche after cliche
snadon26 April 2002
Absolute worst film i have seen in years. I was flabbergasted when i saw that people were actually crying. I could barely contain my laughter or my lunch. There was not one orginal thought in the entire picture. it was merely a collage of some of the sappiest and most trite moments from other bad sappy films all rolled into one. It could be used as a lesson in insincerity. The fact that so many Americans enjoyed the film is indicative of the total decay of originality and depth in the American cultural psyche. There was nothing to challenge, nothing to think about, and nothing to care about in the entire film. Only a nation whose sense of spirituality and depth can be captured in Oprah's two minute "remember your spirit" could find this film interesting. talk about emotionally stunted.
9 out of 17 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
1/10
BAD BAD BAD BAD
adamhb27 November 2001
Warning: Spoilers
SPOILER ALERT Wow, this was one horrendous film. Let us go through the scenes of complete torture 1) That Malone girl and Kevin Klein kissing. a) This added nothing to the movie. b) This was just added to be corky and offbeat. 2) The Chinny ring, where did it go!!!! a) This should have been a huge transitional period of the movie, instead he just shows up, and where is it? 3) The husband a) He leaves, and than he comes back as Mr. affectionate dad, when he wouldnt even let his kids get their grubby dirty hands on his shirt. b) How does the son go from "I don't care if he ever comes back", to "I love you dad". 4) The American Beauty a) Unlike American Beauty, the scenes of sex added nothing to the actual movie. Seriously, the movie is about a dying man, not a goddamn M.I.L.F. b) The final narration of Kevin Klein, strikingly similar to Kevin Spacey's, eh? They must have used every cliché phrase known to man in that last narration 5) Giving the house to the crippled girl. a) "This maybe isn't what he wanted, but this is what he wished for?" What does that mean!!! b) At what point does he tell her where she lives or her name??? THIS WAS A BAD BAD BAD MOVIE, and there are a lot more bad things about it, for example the script and acting, but I don't feel like wasting my time. Don't be fooled by IMDB's rating BAD BAD BAD BAD BAD BAD
7 out of 13 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
1/10
as bad as a movie can be w/o being incompetent
obliv12 December 2001
so i get it. At its heart, this is obviously a touching subject, and hits really close to home for a lot of people. I had a really great co-worker who named this as his favorite film. It's too bad, because as a film, this is pretty weak.

As a screenplay, it displays extreme laziness. there are NO surprises in this movie. if it appears in the beginning of the movie, it will be used sometime later...characters are not so much developed as given quirks which will later fit some narrative need...

another thing that bothered me was its whole "embrace of middle-aged, yuppie values". honestly, you don't have to be mentally disturbed, angry, or on drugs to connect with punk, goth, or any other element of youth culture. just because a kid wears clothes from the gap instead of having a chin piercing doesn't make him better. this movie was so completely clueless about kids, hates them, in fact...

Its sad that such a powerful topic has to make due with a film so bland and by the books, and one which really presses the supposed value of conformity and judging by appearances. believe it or not, people with dyed hair and tattoos have, on occasion, not been criminals. And just because your wardrobe comes entirely from the gap doesn't mean that you are better than people who prefer color and denim.

2 out of 10
6 out of 12 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
5/10
Sappy film defies credibility
kickstand11 November 2001
Well, the writers of LIFE AS A HOUSE didn't much care for

credibility. Let's see, man gets fired and smashes up office, still

gets full severance pay (and he gets cancer the same day, boy!);

young woman enters shower with young man she barely knows,

unbidden (you know, that happens to me all the time); man's room

in Ocean View hospital (all the good hospitals have prime

oceanfront property, you know) has a great view of his own house;

and many more I won't mention for fear of spoiling the fun. The

characters' motivations seem more the mechanizations of a

Hollywood screenwriter than the actions of actual people.

The sap here is not quite as thick as in those 70's-80's weepies,

but still hard to swallow. In its defense, LIFE AS A HOUSE boasts

some good performances and has its heart in the right place.

Probably the audience who will appreciate this the most is parents

who are working out issues with their teen sons.
3 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
it works!
mattkratz18 March 2002
This movie works at the levels at which it is aiming-as a drama,tear-jerker, and a bonding movie. Kevin Kline gives a terrific portrayal of a man who is dying of cancer who convinces his estranged son to help him build a house. The son is very reluctant at first but winds up liking it, as he also forms a relationship with a girl. I liked the movie because of the effective drama elements.

*** out of ****
4 out of 8 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
1/10
Awful "American Beauty" rip-off. AVOID.
applehuntr21 December 2001
This movie takes SO MANY of the elements that made "American Beauty" great and tries to pass them off as it's own, with NO success.



Similarities: 1. A depressed middle-aged man will die at the end of the film. (works in "Beauty" because it doesn't feel manipulative or contrived there) 2. He has an confused child ("Life"'s child is so cliched its pathetic "Why can't you both just die and leave me alone!" actual dialogue from "Life". Come on!) 3. The man loses his job (In "Life", he goes on an over-dramatic rampage at work, it's in slow-motion, too. Laughably bad.) 4. He will make amends with life and die happily. (Out of nowhere, Kevin Kline starts to narrate at the end, and gives a Kevin Spacey-like monologue that is completely phony, in which he obviously, compares his life to a house, could the writer not think up a better metaphor?).

There are too many too list, but these are the main ones. All around,(the humor, emotions, etc..) this movie plays it safe, even when it thinks it is being edgy. Everyone has been praising the performances, these are good actors, well, most of them (I didn't take to any on the younger cast, and I'm a teen!), but their talents aren't shown here, everything is so contrived here. I hated this worthless, dull movie.

* out of ****.

(Ignore the good reviews of this film here at IMDB, or anywhere, this is a truly bad film.)
5 out of 11 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
9/10
Truly amazing performances!
Travis_Bickle013 July 2005
Warning: Spoilers
The first time I saw "Life as a House", I was pleasantly surprised. I expected the movie to be good, but it turned out to be great. The story is wonderful. It's not completely new, but on the other hand, it's not that cliché either. The thing that surprised me the most, was the acting. It was truly breathtaking. First their was Kevin Kline, who gave an excellent performance as the dying George who wants to heal the relationship between him and his son. The son is amazingly performed by Hayden Christensen. His acting performance was without any doubt the most outstanding performance of the whole movie. His character, Sam, is introvert, extravagant and completely messed up.

George's plan for the summer is the built a house (a plan he has been postponing his whole life) and to do this with his son in order the "heal" their relationship. This movie has a brilliant cast. Besides Kline and Christensen, there's also Kristin Scott Thomas (The English Patient), Jena Malone (Donnie Darko) and Mary Steenbergen (Philadelphia). Furthermore this movie has a lot of brilliant scenes. For example, there's the scene where Sam asks his father how you can become something that you're not. Really amazing scene! Actually the whole movie is a sequence of brilliant scenes. I'm not going to mention them all, because that would take too long. The only thing I can add is: watch this movie! It's certainly worth your time!

9/10
2 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
8/10
Good movie, great acting
JoannaRobinson6 June 2005
When George (Kevin Kline) is diagnosed with cancer he wants to take care of his son Sam (Hayden Christensen) for the summer. His ex-wife (Kristin Scott Thomas) married another man and has two sons with him, and she doesn't really keep an eye on Sam. Sam has a bad life, he is a drug addict, is a prostitute and doesn't give anything about his parents. George doesn't know all this and wants to have a good relationship with his son, by building a new house with Sam.

The movie has a good story, some great actors, Kevin Kline is very good in this one. Very different than his roles in A Fish Called Wanda and I Love You To Death. He is very good in dramatic and serious roles. And I really enjoyed the performance of Hayden Christensen. His acting seemed very real, and I think he is really hot in this one, with his make-up, black hair and clothes and his chin piercing. The script was very good and the movie has some great filming locations with very beautiful looking scenes.

If you are a Kevin Kline or Hayden Christensen fan, or you just like good drama movies, you should definitely go see this movie.
2 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Well done, I could relate to these hard adolescent days, much like my own life.
futbol45 May 2003
Warning: Spoilers
I am 25 and could completely relate to the anger and minute my minute frustration I experienced in high school toward my parents and life in general.

The best thing about this movie though is that it included the bad stuff in life too. ***spoilers*** the sexual choices, rejecting the hands that raised you when you were young, drug use, medicating escapism, including these topics took this movie to the next level.
2 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Great Movie!
themeganag8 July 2002
I grabbed the kleenex box before I sat down to watch this movie. It was a good thing I did. This is not your typical tear jerker though. This is a great movie that dealt with a lot of issues while still being fun. I laughed, I cried, and then I rewound it and watched it again!
2 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
loading
An error has occured. Please try again.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews