29 user 39 critic

The Keys to the House (2004)

Le chiavi di casa (original title)
Meeting his handicapped son for the first time, a young father attempts to forge a relationship with the teenager.


Gianni Amelio


Gianni Amelio (story and screenplay), Sandro Petraglia (story and screenplay) | 2 more credits »
15 wins & 22 nominations. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Kim Rossi Stuart ... Gianni
Charlotte Rampling ... Nicole
Andrea Rossi Andrea Rossi ... Paolo
Alla Faerovich Alla Faerovich ... Nadine
Pierfrancesco Favino ... Alberto
Manuel Katzy Manuel Katzy ... Taxi driver
Michael Weiss Michael Weiss ... Andreas
Ingrid Appenroth Ingrid Appenroth ... Hospital warden
Dimitri Süsin Dimitri Süsin ... Boy watching TV
Thorsten Schwarz Thorsten Schwarz ... Male nurse
Eric Neumann Eric Neumann ... Playground boy
Dirk Zippa Dirk Zippa ... Young man on wheelchair
Barbara Koster-Chari Barbara Koster-Chari ... Nurse
Anita Bardeleben Anita Bardeleben ... Doctor
Ralf Schlesener Ralf Schlesener ... Newspaper seller


"Prepare yourself for suffering if you intend to be close to him." So speaks the mother of a young woman with severe disabilities, speaking to Gianni, the father of 16-year-old Paolo, himself developmentally disabled. Gianni abandoned the boy at birth, when the child's mother died, and Paulo's aunt and uncle have raised him. They have contacted Gianni and asked him to take Paulo to Berlin for a battery of medical tests. Images of people walking, running, skating, and dancing dot the screen as Gianni and Paulo get to know each other. Over a few days, Gianni tries to sort out his obligations and his desires. Will he accept his role as father to this engaging, mercurial, disabled youth? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




PG | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


This was Italy's official entry for the Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award in 2004. It did not make the final five. See more »


Referenced in The Holiday (2006) See more »


Quanti Anni Hai
Written by Vasco Rossi
Performed by Vasco Rossi
Courtesy of EMI Music Italy S.P.A.
See more »

User Reviews

An astounding lead performance by a handicapped actor, takes your breath away
22 March 2008 | by robert-temple-1See all my reviews

This film is remarkable for doing what I would have considered completely impossible, namely featuring a young boy who is severely handicapped as the lead actor, and succeeding brilliantly. The boy is Andrea Rossi, and his performance is one of the great cinema performances of the decade. I don't know how this was possible. Even allowing for the obvious fact that the director, Gianni Amelio, is a man of unique sensitivity and even of genius, I do not know how such a handicapped boy could be such a super-star. It is totally astounding. Those of us who have known handicapped people realize how charming they can be in private. But the idea that a boy so seriously handicapped could totally dominate an entire feature film and be so up-front, and project his personality so powerfully, is absolutely incredible. This is some kind of magic hitherto unknown! Andrea Rossi is not only honest and direct, he is a communicator at a major level. He proves what fantastic talents lie buried deep within people suffering from certain handicaps, and which never emerge because no opportunity ever presents itself. Really, there are no words to express the astonishment and delight with which any honest person would greet the experience of this screen performance by a boy who can barely walk, can barely write, and is handicapped in so many ways (I have no idea of what his illness really is) that he could easily be dismissed by the thoughtless as being unable to participate in normal human society or indeed to have any worth or importance as an individual human being. Andrea Rossi has struck a blow for all handicapped people everywhere, by proving beyond any doubt that appearances can be deceptive, and that someone who looks hopelessly handicapped and barely able to communicate can in actuality be highly alert, intelligent, witty, sensitive, creative, innovative, self-deprecating, amusing, and loving. What an amazing fellow Andrea Rossi is! And he was only twelve years old when he made this film! As for the others in the film, there are spectacular performances also by Kim Rossi Stuart as the boy's father, and Charlotte Rampling as the mother of a more severely handicapped girl. The film is so emotional, so powerful, that you will rarely see anything more moving in your lifetime. The direction is perfect. Everything is perfectly judged and perfectly executed. The interviews with Rampling and Rossi Stuart on the DVD are important and should be watched. I had no idea what a profound thinker and intellectual Rampling is until I saw her talking to the camera about the meaning and significance of this film. She should write books on the philosophy of the cinema. But probably her performances are her philosophy, expressed directly, and aimed straight for the gut. How amazing this film is in every way!

15 of 16 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 29 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.


Official Sites:

Official site [France]


Italy | Germany | France | USA


Italian | German | French | English

Release Date:

10 September 2004 (Italy) See more »

Also Known As:

The Keys to the House See more »

Filming Locations:

Berlin, Germany See more »


Box Office

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

We've Got Your Streaming Picks Covered

Looking for some great streaming picks? Check out some of the IMDb editors' favorites movies and shows to round out your Watchlist.

Visit our What to Watch page

Recently Viewed