May 2002
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Movie Review: Life As a House
By Jason Wright, Age 15, Edmonton, Alberta

‘Life As a House' was a disappointment for me. The plot is the typical, Hollywood formula movie. The father, played by Kevin Kline, has bad relationship with his son, finds out he's dying and tries to establish good relationship with his son. He ends up winning the love of his ex-wife as well as that of his son. He hated his job and one day got laid off. After collapsing outside his office building, he ends up in the hospital where he finds out he is very ill. Upon leaving the hospital, he realizes he has to do something with his life in the time he has left. He decides to build a house before he dies. Through subplots we learn why this is so important.

Some good actors played in this movie. Kevin Kline was weak as the father, George. Kristen Scott Thomas wasn't as deep as one might hope. The acting by Hayden Christensen, who played the son, was okay. . At the beginning of the movie he was made out to be a deep, misunderstood hoodlum, who hated authority, had a labret piercing and listened to Marilyn Manson! This scenario might have worked but the angry teenage persona was too much. Miraculously the son did a complete turn-around in only two months and became the All-American boy.

With so many top actors, one would think the movie would be entertaining, very passionate and moving. Not so. While there were some good moments in the film, the characters were not consistent and lacked dimension. Although it was supposed to be a serious film, there were some funny lines which were delivered well, especially by Kline.

The dialogue was at times moving but at other times, lacked emotion. Throughout the film subplots occurred that, if explored, may have made a better, more interesting, film.

Directed by Irwin Winkler, the film rates 4 ˝ out of 10 from this viewer. Rating: A

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