The House of the Spirits (1994)
Average Rating: 4.8/10
Reviews Counted: 34
Fresh: 10 | Rotten: 24
No consensus yet.
Average Rating: 4.9/10
Critic Reviews: 15
Fresh: 4 | Rotten: 11
No consensus yet.
Average Rating: 3.7/5
User Ratings: 9,205
Bille August directed this film version of the Isabel Allende novel, featuring a cast that includes Jeremy Irons, Meryl Streep, and Glenn Close. The story is a sweeping and brooding melodrama, spanning generations and filled with violence, revenge, and telekinesis. The tale begins in South America in 1926, when a young man, Esteban (Jeremy Irons), falls in love with the daughter of a rich man, Rosa Del Valle (Teri Polo). He vows to become rich enough to make her his wife and spends months of
Apr 1, 1994 Wide
Jun 19, 2001
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The thing works in its goofy way, mainly because Bille August is a man of apparently dauntless conviction. He has written and directed every scene with serene authority.
The flaws aren't fatal. The beauty and brilliance that might have been, don't preclude the quality and bravery that exist on the screen.
The House of the Spirits is like Gone With the Wind with the fun and excitement replaced by lofty. All that's left is the wind.
How can an accomplished director take a great novel, the best actors working and the finest technicians available and make a film so... bland? It's a puzzlement.
Inert from its opening moments to its too-long-delayed close, this lackluster production is an example of international filmmaking at its least attractive, and a misstep in the careers of pretty much everyone involved.
It's also a wretched paradox: a big budget, star-driven art film whose very elements subvert its ambitions and turn it into the thing it least wants to be -- a listless '50s-style Hollywood melodrama.
Similar epics are made with more conviction and less pretension on daytime TV.
The film version stresses political intrigue and revolutionary violence at The expense of the anything-goes dreaminess that gives the book its most memorable moments. A stellar cast doesn't help much.
The story, from the best-selling novel by Isabel Allende, is purely incidental to the unintentionally hysterical stylings of this potential camp cult film. It's truly awful, and one shouldn't miss it for the world.
Given the talents involved, the film's hesitations in style and consistent failure to really move must be counted as a major disappointment.
Antonio Banderas invigorates this glum gothic family saga as a defiant young Chilean revolutionary. And without her idea for The House of The Spirits, Isabel Allende insists she would not be a writer today.
A total misfire, from conception to execution to casting. With the exception of Banderas, all the leads are played by American and British actors.
Sterling cast, but a thoroughly mundane movie
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