House of Fools


House of Fools

Critics Consensus

House of Fools has a potentially intriguing fact-based story to tell, but an insensitive approach to depicting mental illness undermines its effectiveness.



Reviews Counted: 49

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Audience Score

User Ratings: 2,882


All Critics | Top Critics
Average Rating: N/A
Reviews Count: 0
Fresh: 0
Rotten: 0


Average Rating: 3.8/5

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Movie Info

War brings together a disillusioned soldier and a sweet but delusional woman in this romantic comedy-drama from director Andrei Konchalovsky. A small Russian mental hospital near the border of Chechnya is home to a group of eccentric but harmless patients, among them Janna (Julia Vysotsky), a cheerful woman who likes to play accordion and is convinced pop singer Bryan Adams is her fiancé; over-excitable Vika (Marina Politseymako); and highly prolific would-be poet Ali (Stanislav Varkki). When fighting between Russians and Chechens flares up and bombing threatens the hospital, the doctor in charge (Vladas Bagdonas) goes out to find vehicles to evacuate his patients, briefly leaving them to their own devices. While the doctor is away, a group of Chechen soldiers happen upon the hospital, but they seemingly mean no harm to the patients, and one of them, Ahmed (Sultan Islamov), starts flirting with Janna. Janna quickly falls head over heels for Ahmed, and leaves behind her treasured Bryan Adams poster to be with him...though in her mind, Adams isn't about to give up her affections without a fight. As love grows between them, Ahmed finds himself wondering just who is supposed to be sane -- the lunatics at the hospital, or the soldiers fighting a pointless war. Bryan Adams appears as himself in Dom Durakov, and sings several songs, including his international hit "Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman."

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Critic Reviews for House of Fools

All Critics (49) | Top Critics (21)

Vysotsky projects an essential sunniness that helps keep the film from turning maudlin.

Aug 29, 2003 | Rating: 3/5

It may be based on a true story, but another filmmaker told it before -- and better.

Aug 22, 2003 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

It ultimately feels like a folly that sounded great in the filmmaker's head, so great that he had to be put on screen, where it flounders around with no small degree of embarrassment.

Jul 11, 2003 | Rating: C- | Full Review…

There's not much to Konchalovsky's tale ... but it's often beautifully told; a gentle fantasy of a harsh time.

Jun 13, 2003 | Rating: 2.5/4

With its cast of nauseatingly lovable lunatics, House of Fools may make you feel like you've been tricked into suffering through the Kevin Spacey flick K-Pax with subtitles.

May 22, 2003 | Rating: C-

Ruined from the start by its insulting depiction of mental illness.

May 16, 2003 | Rating: 1/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for House of Fools


A Russian docu-drama that's intriguing for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the BEAUTIFUL and talented Yuliya Vysotskaya. Plus, it's a true story. And it's got Bryan Adams (yes, THAT Bryan Adams!).

Randy Tippy
Randy Tippy

Super Reviewer

I don't understand the naysayers reviewing this film. It is quite the interesting slice of life and who would expect...Bryan Adams playing a cameo in a Russian film?

John Ballantine
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer


Sunil Jawahir
Sunil Jawahir

Super Reviewer

A very cliched view of a mental hospital that happens to get caught up in the Russian-Chechen war. Occasionally amusing war humour and an impressive helicopter crash is all this movie has to offer.

Ross Collins
Ross Collins

Super Reviewer

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