A Master Builder

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Average Rating: 3.5/5

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Movie Info

The artistic triumvirate of Jonathan Demme, André Gregory, and Wallace Shawn update Henrik Ibsen's The Master Builder, a modern classic about a successful, egomaniacal architect who has spent a lifetime bullying his wife, employees and mistresses - who nonetheless wants to make peace with himself as his life approaches its final act. Working from his own translation of the Norwegian text, Wallace Shawn gives a tour-de-force performance as the cruel, yet guilt-ridden architect. Jonathan Demme's direction is based on the near-legendary production created for the stage by André Gregory, developed over a 14-year period. Lisa Joyce plays a sensual, mysterious young visitor who turns the household upside down, much to the consternation of Julie Hagerty, perfectly cast as Shawn's neurasthenic, long-suffering wife. Scandinavian angst -- reinterpreted by New York's finest. (C) Abramorama

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Andre Gregory
as Knut Brovik
Julie Hagerty
as Aline Solness
Wallace Shawn
as Master Builder Halvard Solness
Lisa Joyce
as Hilde Wangel
Larry Pine
as Dr. Ejlert Herdal
Jeff Biehl
as Ragnar Brovik
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Critic Reviews for A Master Builder

All Critics (31) | Top Critics (14)

  • There is muscle and volume in the performances; but had Demme hung back, and kept things cooler and quieter, the mastery of what Ibsen built, and the agon of his extraordinary hero, would have cast a more looming shadow.

    Sep 22, 2014 | Full Review…
  • For a movie that lasts longer than two hours and is made up solely of talking, it's impressive that the story never seems to drag.

    Sep 18, 2014 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…
  • Though the film makes little effort to open up the play, letting it all unfold, as in the original, within Solness's house - if not his mind - Demme's version intensifies the drama into something oneiric.

    Sep 12, 2014 | Full Review…
  • Surprisingly engaging ...

    Sep 4, 2014 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • A film that plays not as a theatrical antique, but as a crackling, profound entry in The Twilight Zone.

    Aug 14, 2014 | Rating: A | Full Review…
  • Shawn veers away from his usual nebbishy persona here and skillfully suggests a master manipulator and shrewdly controlling womanizer driven by insecurities and guilt.

    Aug 8, 2014 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

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