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The Architect (2006)



Average Rating: 4.1/10
Reviews Counted: 38
Fresh: 4 | Rotten: 34

A glum drama that's so self-affected it fails to affect.


Average Rating: 4.5/10
Critic Reviews: 18
Fresh: 1 | Rotten: 17

A glum drama that's so self-affected it fails to affect.



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Average Rating: 2.7/5
User Ratings: 1,308

My Rating

Movie Info

Leo Waters is an idealistic architect and patriarch of an affluent, suburban Chicago family. Tonya Neeley is a pragmatic activist who is trying to keep her family together while living in one of the city's most drug and crime-infested public housing projects. As part of her ongoing campaign to have the projects torn down and decent housing built in its place, Tonya decides that the one signature she needs more than any other on her petition is that of the projects' original architect, Leo



Matt Tauber, David Greig

Dec 5, 2006

Magnolia Pictures - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (40) | Top Critics (19) | Fresh (4) | Rotten (34) | DVD (4)

Despite his obvious earnestness, first-time director and cowriter Matt Tauber is ill equipped to mine emotions this complex.

December 15, 2006 Full Review Source: Detroit Free Press
Detroit Free Press
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Too many "big" moments are happening to too many people for the movie to feel plausible, and Tauber tries to tie many of those plots together in a way that seems contrived.

December 15, 2006 Full Review Source: Denver Post
Denver Post
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Occasionally a pallid film is salvaged by one wonderful performance. To the extent The Architect will be remembered, it will be for giving a starring role to the exceptional Viola Davis.

December 14, 2006
Minneapolis Star Tribune
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Given the fact that The Architect is obviously a work in the tradition of Arthur Miller and Tennessee Williams, not to mention Henrik Ibsen, it's disappointing.

December 14, 2006 Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune
Chicago Tribune
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The Architect wears its heavy social consciousness like an albatross, and Tauber's plodding, earnest direction does little to wean the material away from its stage roots.

December 8, 2006 Full Review Source: AV Club
AV Club
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Painfully portentous and more solemn than Santa's funeral, The Architect gets this year's prize for the movie most likely to spoil holiday cheer.

December 8, 2006 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A well-intentioned misfire...

June 28, 2011 Full Review Source: Reel Film Reviews
Reel Film Reviews

It is frustrating to watch the film blow some respectable capital on indulgence in narrative frippery.

February 9, 2007 Full Review Source: Reeler

In my opinion, the film tries to cover too much ground. The plot strands don't exactly coalesce into a tight story. Perhaps that was [the director's] intent, but for me something was missing. The cast does yeoman work but I somehow couldn't exactly get ca

January 11, 2007 Full Review Source: Murphy's Movie Reviews
Murphy's Movie Reviews

When Tauber finds his focus, The Architect is worth watching. But Tauber rarely finds his focus.

January 4, 2007 Full Review Source:

It would bear mentioning that nothing winds up being resolved in the film, if it weren't for the fact that there's nothing to resolve.

December 30, 2006 Full Review Source:

What makes the movie satisfying is the fact that its ethnic tensions are never overtly exacerbated, but rather subtly illustrated simply by the comparison of the decadent malaise of the spoiled-rotten versus the neverending nightmare of the have-nots.

December 26, 2006 Full Review Source: EURWeb

The movie doesn't so much tell a story as scream its messages at us in a series of awkward scenes that test the actors' ability to make fake-o dialogue seem like something an actual person might say.

December 14, 2006 Full Review Source: St. Paul Pioneer Press
St. Paul Pioneer Press

I am sick to death of taking the White Guilt Trip.

December 12, 2006 Full Review Source: Film Freak Central
Film Freak Central

Skids mightily in the transition from three to two dimensions.

December 7, 2006 Full Review Source: The Stranger (Seattle, WA)

... The Architect is filled with ciphers and symbols, without a smidgen of narrative reason to hold it together.

December 7, 2006 Full Review Source: Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Seattle Post-Intelligencer

For all the added scope and locations of the film medium, it still seems as stagy and claustrophobic as hell.

December 5, 2006 Full Review Source: Film Journal International
Film Journal International

sapped by sluggish direction

December 4, 2006 Full Review Source:

Audience Reviews for The Architect

this movie is hard to rate. its very story driven which is good, and the stories that are presented are very good. the telling of the stories however is not good at all. this film follows the unfortunate indi film trend of leaving a story incomplete at the end. the problem is that this film is only 1hr and 11 min. they could have used another 30 min to finish telling the stories. much of the diologue is unexplained and doesnt seem to fit the story and some of the actions of the characters have no context so they dont make sense. i give it a decent rating on potential, hayden is good in this flick and the movie could have been great with more time.
March 25, 2009
danny d

Super Reviewer

This movie was one of those films that came and went. Nobody probably saw it--and that's a shame! Granted, the suburban family drama has been done-to-death ever since the mesmerizing American Beauty (and no other suburban drama could live up to it--except for Little Children) but this movie is a valiant effort in this genre. It has undertones of the struggle that children of a dysfunctional family have to put up. Worrying about pimples before prom isn't good enough for films like this. You have to be sexually confused, insecure about your breasts and worried that your dad is "perving" on you. As for the parents themselves, Isabella Rossellini plays the sullen, emotionally-unbalanced housewife to a tee. She is great. And Anthony LaPaglia--as the architect you has to deal with the crumbling infrastructure of his household along with the crumbling structure he built for low-income families--is understated and captivating in his performance.

The film has a solid script and some arresting social commentaries to convey. It just feels a little watered-down and I think that comes from having only a handful of characters. It feels more like something that could've been a better stage play; rather than a feature-length film. Still, the movie is worth watching; if you can catch it on DVD in the coming months! It's nice to see little gems that never see the light of day or people may or may not have ever heard about.

On a side note, I happened to see this movie at a theatre that used a BlueRay DVD player. Let me say that this technology is mind-blowing. It's a shame this movie wasn't a special-effects flick because the visuals would've been out of this world. It is the most crystal clear image of film I have ever seen. No pixelation, no blurriness or scratches to worry about. Pure digital heaven.
January 3, 2007

Super Reviewer

[font=Century Gothic]In "The Architect," a long time resident, Tonya Neely(Viola Davis), of the Eden Court housing projects on the south side of Chicago has come to the conclusion that the inadequately repaired, poorly built, gang infested buildings are beyond hope and wishes to see them torn down.(Her son commited suicide a few years back. One daughter, Cammie(Serena Reeder), lives elsewhere while attending high school. Another, Missy(Marsha Stephanie Blake) already has a baby of her own.) She even tries to get the original architect, Leo Waters(Anthony LaPaglia), to help but he declines, not seeing a problem...[/font]

[font=Century Gothic]"The Architect" is a slight but intriguing movie about the difference between reform and revolution. In this case, it is the difference between continually repairing the projects or tearing them down and starting from scratch.(Tonya never does say what she wants to replace the projects with.) If I remember my urban history right, housing projects were built with the best of intentions but they also destroyed the cohesion of neighborhoods. Leo does not admit that there is a problem with the buildings he designed while not noticing his family falling apart around him.(Thus, saving the movie from the dreaded "rich white folks have problems, too" syndrome.) But we never get a true sense of what it is to live in these projects. [/font]
August 4, 2007
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

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