House of Sand and Fog (2003)

R  |   |  Drama  |  9 January 2004 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 55,093 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
See  »

Did You Know?


In 2009 Navi Rawat (Soroya) admitted that her wedding dress costume was so big and complicated to take on and off she had to have somebody hold it up for when she needed to use the bathroom. See more »


When Behrani and Esmail are talking in Esmail's bedroom, the pillow shifts position from horizontally behind the lower lumbar part of Esmail's back, to standing vertically up to Esmail's shoulders, then back to the original horizontal position behind his back. See more »


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


Referenced in The Simpsons: Wedding for Disaster (2009) See more »


Written by Varoujan & Iraj Janati-Ataei
Performed by Googoosh
See more »

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User Reviews

A desperate masterpiece
4 January 2005 | by See all my reviews

This film is based on Andre Dubus III'S acclaimed novel "House of Sand and Fog". Dubus created a story of immense power about cultures and the gap between them, about human pain, about hope and ultimately about humanity and sometimes its tragic loss. Colonel Behrani (Sir Ben Kingsley) and his family, buy a house on the fictional area Pacific County, intending to ameliorate their lifestyle, as they have been banished from their home country, Iran. However, the previous owner of the house, a depressed young woman and recovering alcoholic, Kathy Lazaro (Jennifer Connelly), turns up and reclaims her property, which was taken from her because of a bureaucratic error. And when Kathy's boyfriend, Officer Lester Burdon (very effectively performed by Ron Eldard), a racist obsessed with the concept of justice decides to help her, all hell breaks loose. I cannot speak of the plot any further without spoiling it, so I will stop here. How can one tell a story and be more than a mere narrator? How can a book be adapted to film, without merely repeating what the book itself says? Not only does newcomer director Vadim Perelman answer this question, he gives us one of the best films of the past decade. Perelman doesn't waste a single detail. Everything is brought together to create an astonishing emotional impact. Like great directors such as Tarkovsky have done, Perelman approaches his every character and pierces through her/his soul. Every scene takes you deeper and deeper into the soul of the characters, without ever being slow moving or over descriptive. As for the performances, what can I say? Rarely if ever has a single performance moved me as much as Kingsley's. This gigantic actor delivers one of his best performances to date, he has immaculate control over every single aspect of his character, physically and emotionally. Connelly, one of the most talented actresses working today, is also breathtaking, creating a performance that is a quiet outburst of pain and regret. Shoreh Aghdashloo, portraying the most tragic character of the film (at least this is my view of her character), is heartbreaking. This is acting in its supreme form, I really don't think it gets better. She truly deserved an Oscar for this. Young Jonathan Ahdout is also excellent, we will definitely be seeing more of him in the future. However, I must warn you: If you are going to see this movie, prepare for an emotional breakdown. It is really one of the most devastating films of the past years and if you'd rather see a pleasant film, this isn't for you.

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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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