Housekeeping (1987) - Rotten Tomatoes

Housekeeping (1987)

Housekeeping (1987)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Housekeeping Photos

Movie Info

Housekeeping is the film in which Christine Lahti invites a guest into a living room half-submerged in water. This is hardly the oddest moment in this offbeat Bill Forsyth film (his first American production). When their mother commits suicide by driving into a lake, Idaho pre-teens Ruth Sara Walker and Lucille (Andrea Burchill) fall into the custody of their Aunt Sylvie (Lahti). This strange young woman has throughout her life made unconventionality a life form. The girls initially aren't sure what to make of their loopy guardian, but in time begin to respond differently to her. When Lucille distances herself from Sylvie's eccentricities and then moves in with a local family, Walker draws closer to the older woman. The two head out on a series of picaresque adventures together, that include stealing a rowboat and riding in boxcars, but Lucille catches wind of this and informs the authorities - who promptly threaten to revoke Sylvie's custody of Ruth. By then, however, Ruth has already begun to closely identify with Sylvie. Director Forsyth adapted his script from a novel by Marilynne Robinson.
Comedy , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
Columbia Pictures Corporation

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Anne Pitoniak
as Aunt Lily
Bill Smille
as Sheriff
Bill Smillie
as Sheriff
Wayne Robson
as Mr. French
Betty Phillips
as Mrs. Jardine
Karen Austin
as Mrs. Paterson
Dolores Drake
as Mrs. Walker
Georgie Collins
as Grandmother
Brian Linds
as Deputy Sheriff
Antony Holland
as Mr. Wallace
Betty Thomas
as Stunt Player
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Critic Reviews for Housekeeping

All Critics (9) | Top Critics (2)

The most impressive thing about this haunting fable is Forsyth's fluidity and grace as a storyteller.

Full Review… | August 7, 2015
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

It's beautifully played out as a proverbial fable that leaves a lasting impression.

Full Review… | November 30, 2006
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Haunting and one-of-a-kind, with a knockout Lahti performance.

March 10, 2006
Las Vegas Review-Journal

Explores the challenging relationship between two sisters and their eccentric aunt who marches to the beat of her own drummer.

Full Review… | July 10, 2003
Spirituality and Practice

Audience Reviews for Housekeeping


★★★ (out of four) Christine Lahti shines in this solid and sadly overlooked little movie. It provides us with some much need originality and that is most a good thing. It does stray in to overly strained quirkiness at times, however. Two preteen girls growing up in Idaho live with their grandmother since their mother has passed away. When their grandmother also dies they are then watched over by their wacky aunt Sylvie (Lahti). Embarassed by their aunt, one of the girls moves oin with another family. The other grows closer to Sylvie. A road trip follows and the strange adventure grows. [IMG][/IMG]

Steve Smith
Steve Smith

(****): [img][/img] A very strange and intriguing coming-of-age/family drama. Well worth seeking out.


Sara Walker and Christine Lahti have pretty decent chemistry, but I thought the sisters, when on screen together, were reading off cue cards or something. Was this intentional to try and illustrate the growing rift betwixt the two? Because it just looked like they were bad actors. Didn't expect Mike Hamar (Wayne Robson) to show up, that was a nice surprise. The story is great.

Andy Cramer
Andy Cramer

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