7.5/10
41,151
359 user 97 critic

Life as a House (2001)

R | | Drama | 9 November 2001 (USA)
Trailer
2:18 | Trailer

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ON DISC
When a man is diagnosed with terminal cancer, he takes custody of his misanthropic teenage son, for whom quality time means getting high, engaging in small-time prostitution, and avoiding his father.

Director:

Irwin Winkler

Writer:

Mark Andrus
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 2 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Kevin Kline ... George Monroe
Kristin Scott Thomas ... Robin Kimball
Hayden Christensen ... Sam Monroe
Jena Malone ... Alyssa Beck
Mary Steenburgen ... Colleen Beck
Mike Weinberg ... Adam Kimball
Scotty Leavenworth ... Ryan Kimball
Ian Somerhalder ... Josh
Jamey Sheridan ... Peter Kimball
Scott Bakula ... Officer Kurt Walker
Sandra Nelson ... Nurse #1
Sam Robards ... David Dokos
John Pankow ... Bryan Burke
Kim Delgado ... Bob Larson
Barry Primus ... Tom
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Storyline

George Monroe is a lonely and sad man. Divorced for ten years, he lives alone on the Southern California coast with his pet dog in the same run down shack he has lived in for twenty-five years, the shack which his father passed down to him. In the intervening years, ostentatious houses have sprung up around him. He's been at the same architectural firm for twenty years in a job he hates, which primarily consists of building scale models. On the day that he is fired from his job, he is diagnosed with an advanced case of terminal cancer, which he chooses not to disclose to his family. In many ways, this day is the happiest of his recent life in that he decides to spend what little time he has left doing what he really wants to do, namely build a house he can call his own to replace the shack. He also wants his rebellious sixteen year old son, Sam Monroe, to live with him for the summer, hopefully not only to help in the house construction, but for the two to reconnect as a family. ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Seen from a distance, it's perfect.

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language, sexuality and drug use | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

New Line

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

9 November 2001 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Das Haus am Meer See more »

Filming Locations:

Bermuda See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$27,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$294,056, 28 October 2001, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$15,652,637, 30 December 2001

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$5,920,746, 8 November 2003
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Winkler Films See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Lindsay Lohan, who was 14 years old at the time of production/casting, was strongly considered for the role of Alyssa and even screen tested for it. While the filmmakers were impressed with Lohan, they ultimately gave Jena Malone the part, deciding they wanted someone a little bit older. See more »

Goofs

When Alisya is talking to Robin about her coming everyday to help with the house, Alisya's hair repeatedly jumps from her shoulder to hanging down her back between shots. See more »

Quotes

George: What would you do if you had three or four months to live?
Nurse #1: Um... I'd eat a lot of red meat?
George: Good for you.
Nurse #1: What would you do?
George: Build a house.
See more »

Connections

Featured in From the Ground Up (2001) See more »

Soundtracks

Gramercy Park
Written by Elijah Allman
Performed by Deadsy
Courtesy of Dreamworks Records
Under license from Universal Music Enterprises
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

From a Different Perspective
19 November 2001 | by Ralph Michael SteinSee all my reviews

As predictable as this film is, it moved me in many ways. I am a single father, 58 years old, whose life largely revolves around a wonderful twelve year old boy. He'd better not go down the road of Kevin Kline's teenage kid or I'll kill him! (just kidding-don't call Child Protective Services just yet).

California Cinematic Dreamin' aside, the people here are real. Their vulnerabilities are in the open and they deal with each other as best they can. Kline's son is confused about more than his sexuality, far more. His first girlfriend accepts him and, more importantly, her own sexuality, with a maturity in no way undermined by a delightfully playful demeanor.

As in similar films, the viewer has to suspend reality when the doomed character accepts his fate with no mention of palliative, much less curative, medical intervention. His condition is never fully described but a quick, distant shot of murmuring doctors examining x-rays (x-rays? No MRIs, CAT scans or PET scans in a CA hospital?) brings home that the architectural model builder has hit a brick wall.

The cast is first-rate - everyone plays his/her role convincingly.

The message of the film is, of course, the enduring need for community. And this celluloid community is moving and loving. A truly fine film. (Yep, I cried into my popcorn.)


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