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A Lion in the House More at IMDbPro »

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21 out of 21 people found the following review useful:

If only all movies told stories that meant so much....

Author: harvestmoon-1 from Canada
26 June 2006

As a young father of 2 (both under 4) and also a cancer survivor who is 3 years + into remission...I think this film must be seen by as many people as possible.

For those of you who have been introduced to cancer either by fighting it yourself or having a loved one (family member or friend) deal with the reality of "life" that this disease bestows upon us...or are a parent of a young child...watching this film will be hard and tears will flow...but hopefully after watching it you will come away with a renewed sense of love for those in your life and will quietly remind yourself what I hope you already know.

If you have not been introduced to cancer or have not had the pleasure of being a parent...then be prepared to for a heart wrenching emotional journey that at its conclusion will hopefully have your heart and mind opened to their fullest extent...while most importantly giving you a reason to comprehend and bring forth into your own lives what those of us who have been touched by cancer or are parents of young children should already know...what the important things in life really are!

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22 out of 23 people found the following review useful:

heart-wrenching dose of the reality of cancer in children

Author: makingitup from Sunny SC
25 June 2006

Usually when I've seen something this sad, afterward I have a sense of relief, and that my life just isn't so bad. This one was hard to recover from. I'm dumbfounded that some voters gave this 1 or 3, I just can't imagine not being moved to tears by the heartbreak contained in this film. I have to assume these were some of the folks who left before it ended at Sundance.

I believe the purpose of art is to touch someone, to make them think, to make them feel. This does that in the most human of ways. I had second thoughts about whether I was up for this, but it was incredibly captivating. I had the luxury of having this on my DVR, so I could pause to rest and recover as needed, but at no time during the nearly 4 hours did I have thoughts of not watching it in its entirety. It is one of the finest documentaries I've experienced, one I will never forget.

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17 out of 18 people found the following review useful:

documentary film-making at its best

Author: kisp_1 from Mexico
24 June 2006

I first heard of this film on NPR, and I was intrigued based on the sole the fact that it's a documentary. (I'm a huge fan of documentaries.) Then I found out that it was playing on PBS and I got to watch it.

This film is by far the most captivating film I have ever seen. The director(s) did a wonderful job of letting the story tell itself, and I appreciated the fact that they gave minimal commentary and just let the camera role. Sort of the "fly on the wall" perspective. They also did an amazing job in integrating the human element into the film as by the end of the film I felt I had a direct connection with every character in the film. I felt I was there with all of the children as they battled with cancer, and I felt for the families having to go through the battle that cancer is. It helped me deal with a lot of the pain I locked up inside when my family went through the same ordeal over ten years ago with my young cousin and later with my uncle. It was by far the most difficult film I have ever watched.

Prior to watching the film I would often get into these meaningless debates about whatever on the IMDb message board as well as other "blog" sites, but after watching this film it made all of that seem trivial and thus a waste of time. The film forced me to get my priorities straight, and my respect for what the doctors, nurses, and volunteers do at the average Children's Hospital has increased five-fold.

I believe everyone should watch this film because it brings a sense of reality. Sometimes we become too comfortable with our lives and forget about everyone else. It's a true reality check, and that's exactly what a documentary should always be.

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Cancer Mom Perspective

Author: areageek from USA
26 October 2014

I stumbled upon this film on a Roku channel and knew nothing about it before I watched it. I have a 4 year old son who just finished his cancer treatments. This was his second bout with cancer.

My first thoughts were that it was amateurish. I watch a ton of documentaries and it seemed at first that this one was without direction. The audio was so quiet in parts it was a bit hard I follow.

I had such high hopes for this. As cancer parents, we are furious over the fact that our childhood cancer receives almost no funding. And while the survivorship of childhood cancer is going up it is at a huge cost. There must be constant vigilance because of recurrence, secondary cancers, and late term effects (infertility, cardiovascular issues, cognitive delays, etc.) and that is a huge part that until your kid is diagnosed you're unaware of and it's unacceptable. Almost none of that was even mentioned. I would like to have seen more about the real toll it takes on families. It can devastate financially between massive bills and loss of income. Marriages fall apart. Many parents and children get PTSD. I do realize there are some limitations on what even the best documentary can do, but I certainly would have done it differently.

I was very pleased that they didn't blow through what happens when a child dies of cancer. Cancer is not pretty smiling bald faces. It is ugly and cruel. It is not my intention to judge, but I was shocked to see the mom leave her dying son in the hospital alone for days at a time. In my experience that would not even be allowed. And I have little doubt she was in denial, intentional or not, about how dire his condition was. But I can't wrap my head around not visiting your son in the hospital or at least making sure someone is there. My heart broke for him being so scared.

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Brilliant emotional doco

Author: Mind_at_Large from Australia
7 April 2014

This is one of the greatest documentaries I have seen. It doesn't largely edit, or grey fact into fiction, manipulate truths, use music to dictate moods, no dramatic commentaries. It simply lets the camera roll and captures what documentaries are so supposed to do: record reality. I watched this in two parts as it is long and very exhausting emotionally. It is so sad. I didn't cry, I was a blubbering mess. My wife too. We looked at each other at various times during the series and we both had tears streaming down our cheeks. This has stayed with me through the years and I still think about it. It puts you right in there and confronts you with the awful reality that children still die from cancer.

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Heart Wrenching, Yet Filled With Hope

Author: legalwriter5 from USA
12 January 2014

From the start of the movie, viewers are emotionally invested in the beautiful children whose stories are shared. Their personalities shine through as do those of their family members. Parents watching this movie will feel a common bond with the parents of Justin, Alex, Tim, Jen and Al as they dare to ask, "What if it were my child?" While some criticize things like the movie's camera angles, lighting, voice-overs, etc., I, an average viewer, thought it was beautifully done and very "real." Hopefully, seeing "A Lion in the House" will spur viewers to do research on childhood cancer and become a voice for the children. While great strides have been made in curing all kinds of cancer, many do not realize that very little funding is allotted specifically for childhood cancer research.

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3 out of 26 people found the following review useful:

Too long and poorly structured

Author: Jenn Brown from Austin, TX
4 February 2007

A Lion in the House has good intentions, but the filmmakers are timid in their approach. The wandering style used, with occasional voice-over gets really old long before the nearly four hours of the film ends. In a period when documentaries are in vogue, and breaking new ground in refreshing ways of telling stories, A Lion in the House seems like a throwback.

The subject matter is interesting, and the filmmakers may be oversensitized to the subject matter, unable or unwilling to edit it down into a more dynamic film. It seems like they went into without a real plan, and having had experience with the subject matter, that makes it a shame.

If they went into the editing room, they could cut out at least an hour, and make a film with more impact.

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1 out of 24 people found the following review useful:

A real disappointment

Author: k_arent_lee from United States
4 April 2007

I agree with those who say this film was very poorly done. It was a major letdown. I had heard about its Sundance accolades and that it was doing well at festivals but I was totally shocked at how bad it was when I saw it. This film felt like some tired old PBS throwback. The shooting wasn't all that great but I'm usually willing to overlook that if the story is really strong. It just wasn't, even though the subject is something that many people can relate to given that cancer is so prevalent in our society. I found myself feeling like I was in elementary school once again being forced to watch an "educational" film in class. Moreover, the filmmakers seemed to have almost no interest in showing any kind of conflict or emotion throughout it which felt to me like a bit of a whitewash. It seemed like a public relations video for the hospital where they were filming rather than a really, good story.

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