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31 user 17 critic

House of Cards (1993)

PG-13 | | Drama | 25 June 1993 (USA)
Trailer
2:45 | Trailer
A widow tries to find out why her daughter's strange behavior, a reaction to the death of her father, is progressively worsening.

Director:

Michael Lessac

Writers:

Michael Lessac (story), Robert Jay Litz (story) | 1 more credit »
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2 wins. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Kathleen Turner ... Ruth Matthews
Tommy Lee Jones ... Jake Beerlander
Asha Menina ... Sally Matthews
Shiloh Strong ... Michael Matthews
Esther Rolle ... Adelle
Park Overall ... Lillian Huber
Michael Horse ... Stoker
Anne Pitoniak Anne Pitoniak ... Judge
Joaquín Martínez ... Selord
Jacqueline Cassell Jacqueline Cassell ... Gloria Miller (as Jacqueline Cassel)
John Henderson John Henderson ... Bart Huber
Craig Fuller Craig Fuller ... Ray Huber
Rick Marshall Rick Marshall ... Frank Stearson
Reuben Valiquette Murray Reuben Valiquette Murray ... Reuben
Emily Russell Emily Russell ... Emily
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Storyline

When Ruth Matthews's husband is killed in a fall at an archaeological dig, her daughter Sally handles her father's death in a very odd manner. As Sally's condition worsens, Ruth takes her to see Jake, an expert in childhood autism. Jake attempts to bring Sally out of her mental disarray through traditional therapy methods, but Ruth takes a different route. She risks her own sanity by attempting to enter her daughter's mind and make sense of the seemingly bizarre things that Sally does, including building a wondrous house of cards. Written by Kathy Li

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A Journey That Will Open Your Mind... And Touch Your Heart.

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for theme | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Italy | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

25 June 1993 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Before I Wake See more »

Filming Locations:

Greensboro, North Carolina, USA See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$12,753, 27 June 1993

Gross USA:

$322,871

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$322,871
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

A&M Films, Penta Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film was completed in 1991 by A&M Films. The film then was shelved for two years until it was picked up by Miramax Films for release in 1993. See more »

Goofs

When Ruth scans in the pictures of Sally's house of cards to the computer, the photos are black and white, but in the virtual reality model, they are color. See more »

Quotes

Ruth Matthews: Everybody goes off into their own worlds sometimes; I do!
Jake Beerlander: Yes, of course we all do, but we come back.
See more »

Connections

References TRON (1982) See more »

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User Reviews

bridges, ascending structures, urges
4 March 2016 | by RResendeSee all my reviews

The great things about this film make me forget the obvious concessions to box office: the uselessness of Tommy Lee's over dramatic character, or the cheesy ending.

The beauty of this is all in the multiple structures presented to us, both physically and metaphorically, and how they are layered in such a way that moving one affects all the others, like a house of cards. How they are put together is flawed, and it lacks the subtleties and hooks of any Medem script. But it's a glorious try, a world of connections of all sorts.

The first gate to this world are the Maya pyramids, so carefully photographed in the clever initial sequence in Mexico. There we are given key concepts to interpret the whole thing: The ascending dynamic of this (highly spiritual) shape, the tragedy of the father's death, which triggers the whole plot, and the moon – introduced in a clumsy way, as the cosmic witness to the tragedy and as some old folk Indian tale.

Later we fold the idea of the abstract structure that is the "key" to our girl's mind into the idea of a physical shape, that of a spiral, conceptually close to the conception of a Maya pyramid. The girl actually builds the thing, using common cards and some Tarot cards, providing us another key to another abstract structured cosmic world: metaphorical links between cards and several realities; a whole cosmology of its own.

In between you get hints at other parallel, strong structures: 1 – before becoming an autist the girl spoke three languages; 2 – trees… she climbs them, repeating the ascending movement, and she disguises herself as one… she becomes it!; 3 – the construction site and the crane, an obvious reference, as it is the fact that the mother is an engineer, a designer of structures (the 3d stuff does sound middle- aged to our BIM days…)

The spiral is replicated in a greater scale by the mother, she actually builds her own gate to her daughter (building up for the obvious climax). What you get is the beautiful idea of a physical structure as the metaphor for a spiritual link, and the act of building as a symbol of reaching for someone. This is underscored by the seemingly shared dream between our girls, which i found pretty lame. So the result is a sort of maternal built love. You have to love it!


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