House of Sand and Fog (2003)

R  |   |  Drama  |  9 January 2004 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 55,076 users   Metascore: 71/100
Reviews: 463 user | 157 critic | 41 from

An abandoned wife is evicted from her house and starts a tragic conflict with her home's new owners.



(novel), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 11 wins & 31 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Jaleh Modjallal ...
Matthew Simonian ...
Wedding Guest (as Namrata S. Gurjal-Cooper)
Wedding Guest (as Al Faris)


An emotionally broken woman, Kathy, suddenly finds herself homeless after her house is wrongly repossessed and auctioned. Seeking respite from his marriage, Lester, a sympathetic sheriff's deputy comes to the aid of Kathy and becomes intimately involved in her situation. Soon, Behrani, a proud emigrant Iranian and his family move into the house only to find their new lives burdened by harassment from Lester and Kathy as they attempt to reclaim her former home. The once prosperous colonel denies Kathy's pleas for he knows his recent purchase promises a profitable return and a better future for his adolescent son and his wife. But latent consequences lie beneath Behrani's well intentioned plan as Kathy's emotions spiral out of control and her actions spark a tragic chain of events that will leave no resident unscathed in the House of Sand and Fog. Written by Tiler Faisal

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Some dreams can't be shared.



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some violence/disturbing images, language and a scene of sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:





Release Date:

9 January 2004 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Casa de arena y niebla  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$15,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$45,572 (USA) (19 December 2003)


$13,005,485 (USA) (26 March 2004)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Numerous location shots in Northern California establish the action as occurring in the San Francisco Bay Area. The actual house was over 400 miles away, in Malibu. See more »


There is a boom mic clearly visible in numerous scenes near the beginning of the movie - almost distracting, it is so visible, unless this has been corrected before DVD release. See more »


[first lines]
Officer at End: Are you Kathy Nicolo?
Kathy: Yeah.
Officer at End: Is this your house?
See more »


Featured in The Tonight Show with Jay Leno: Episode #21.135 (2013) See more »


Written, Produced & Arranged by Elton Ahi
Lyrics by Hedieh
Performed by Andy featuring Shani
See more »

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User Reviews

Incredible Comment On Cultural Gap In America
25 December 2003 | by (Chicago, IL) – See all my reviews

First of all, anyone who says that s/he didn't "get the point of this movie" needs to go back to watching movies produced solely by Jerry Brukheimer because the point could not be more apparent to anyone of any intelligence. House of Sand and Fog is a commentary on the cultural gap between American-born citizens and immigrants from war-ridden countries such as Iran. Unfortunately that gap is shown for what it is: wider than ever.

The character of Kathy is portrayed brilliantly by Jennifer Connelly as an emotionally unstable young woman caught up in the turmoil of losing both her husband and her family's home within eight months of each other. Kathy ignorantly fails to realize that the house her dead father has left her brother and her is in jeopardy of being put up for auction due to unpaid taxes. Kathy comprehends, too late, that the thirty years it took her father to pay off their home has been in vain when it is sold to an Iranian family shortly after auction. Her character is pinned against Ben Kingsley's Colonel Behrani when Behrani buys Kathy's auctioned house in order to return his own family to a sense of stability. The audience is conflicted by its empathy for both character's need to satisfy his and her own pride in family and the preservation of his and her heritage.

The catalyst for the two characters' conflict with each other is drawn from the supporting character of Officer Lester (Ron Eldard), a representation of the ignorance and lack of empathy some Americans feel towards people whose lives have led them to seek better ones in the United States. While Behrani's main motive is to protect his family and give it a sense of security, Lester puts his own selfish pleasures before the wellbeing of his own family. Behrani and Lester are complete opposites, Behrani clearly the nobler. It is clear why Kingsley chose to do this role: Kingsley's portrayal of an Iranian refugee is both superb and honest, not to mention Oscar-worthy. The film shows that there are greater sacrifices in this world than those materialistic in nature. Ironically many Americans might find that point hard to absorb, probably the reason why they are so quick to write off House of Sand and Fog as "one of the worst movies" they have ever seen. House of Sand and Fog is a film, not a movie. Those who give this film a thumbs down need to get a dictionary and distinguish the difference between the two terms. Andre Dubus III's novel has been done justice. Thumbs up.

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Message Boards

Recent Posts
100 things you learnt from House of sand and fog nebblu
Miscasting is the real tragedy here barneyljc
Behrani's deal makes no sense to me s144700
after the movie you feel heaviness in the soul ki_to86
AHH! This movie was so great, but the music ruined everything for me!!! vinceejaxeen
One thing that is not in dispute is Kingley's performance taptoe
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