6.9/10
19,118
87 user 26 critic

The House of the Spirits (1993)

R | | Drama, Romance | 1 April 1994 (USA)
Trailer
1:40 | Trailer

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A rancher, his clairvoyant wife and their family face turbulent years in South America in this adaptation of Isabel Allende's best-seller.

Director:

Bille August

Writers:

Isabel Allende (novel), Bille August
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12 wins. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Meryl Streep ... Clara
Jeremy Irons ... Esteban Trueba
Winona Ryder ... Blanca
Antonio Banderas ... Pedro
Maria Conchita Alonso ... Tránsito
Vincent Gallo ... Esteban Garcia
Joaquín Martínez ... Segundo (as Joaquin Martinez)
Sarita Choudhury ... Pancha
Glenn Close ... Ferula
Miriam Colon ... Nana
António Assunção António Assunção ... Man at Cattlemarket (as António Assumpção)
Julie Balloo Julie Balloo ... Young Lady
Frank Baker Frank Baker ... Intelligence Officer
João Cabral João Cabral ... Soldier
Carlos César Carlos César ... Ambassador's Driver
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Storyline

Chile, second half of the 20th century. The poor Esteban marries Clara and they get a daughter, Blanca. Esteban works hard and eventually gets money to buy a hacienda, eventually to become a local patriarch. He becomes very conservative and is feared by his workers. When Blanca grows up, she falls in love with a young revolutionary, Pedro, who urges the workers to fight for socialism. It is unavoidable that Pedro and Esteban are pitted against each other. Esteban tries to stop the love affair between Pedro and his daughter by all means possible but soon Blanca becomes pregnant and has a daughter. The void between father and daughter seems unbridgeable when Blanca moves in with Pedro. Written by Mattias Thuresson

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong sexuality, and for violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Portugal | Germany | Denmark | USA | France

Language:

English | Spanish

Release Date:

1 April 1994 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

La casa de los espíritus See more »

Filming Locations:

Cabo Espichel, Portugal See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$25,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$6,265,311
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Meryl Streep and Vanessa Redgrave previously appeared in Julia (1977). See more »

Goofs

It's clearly visible that Clara's parents car explodes a little before it hits the train. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Esteban Trueba: It's good to be back.
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Alternate Versions

In France, the opening sequence of the movie is really different than in other countries. The movie is approx. 10 minutes shorter that the other versions See more »

Connections

Referenced in Biography: Winona Ryder (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

La Paloma
Written by Sebastián Yradier (as Sebastian De Yradier)/Michael Jary
Performed by Rosita Serrano
Published by Edition Cinema
Courtesy of Eastwest Records GmbH
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User Reviews

 
a great injustice to Allende's novel
17 February 2008 | by ebstevenson227See all my reviews

We all know a movie never does complete justice to the book, but this is exceptional. Important characters were cut out, Blanca and Alba were essentially mushed into the same character, most of the subplots and major elements of the main plot were eliminated. Clara's clairvoyance was extremely downplayed, making her seem like a much more shallow character than the one I got to know in the book. In the book we learn more about her powers and the important effects she had on so many people, which in turn was a key element in the life of the family. In the movie she was no more than some special lady. The relationship between Esteban and Pedro Tercero (Tercero-third-, by the way, is the son and thus comes after Segundo-second-) and its connections to that between Esteban and his grandson from Pancha García (not son, who he also did recognize) is chopped in half and its importance downplayed.

One of the most fundamental things about the book that the film is all but stripped of: this is called "The House of the Spirits." Where is the house? The story of 3-4 generations of a family is supposed to revolve around the "big house on the corner," a line stated so many times in the novel. The house in fundamental to the story, but the movie unjustly relegates it to a mere backdrop.

If I hadn't read the book before, I would have never guessed that such a sappy, shallow movie could be based on such a rich and entertaining novel.


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