Life as a House


Life as a House

Critics Consensus

A manipulative tearjerker, Life as a House benefits from fine performances from the cast.



Total Count: 105


Audience Score

User Ratings: 57,047
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Movie Info

George Monroe has had a lifelong ambition to achieve one of the great American Dreams: to build his own home, a refuge set on a cliff at the end of the sea. But it's a dream that George has put off again and again while he's sunk lower and lower--ending up divorced, overworked and estranged not only from friends and family, but from himself. Now George has hit rock bottom and there's nowhere to go... except out onto the edge. His neighbors despise his sagging, dilapidated shack. His teen-aged son would rather stare into space than raise a finger to help him. His ex-wife, who once shared his dream, is now emotionally distant from him. Local city officials want to sabotage his plans. It seems there is no one left with any faith in him. But George is determined to build this house--even if it means refurbishing his entire life. He begins the project alone, but soon attracts a disparate group of people. What begins as a way for George to redeem his own dreams turns into something much bigger....


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Critic Reviews for Life as a House

All Critics (105) | Top Critics (32) | Fresh (49) | Rotten (56)

Audience Reviews for Life as a House

  • Apr 02, 2011
    Not overly moving, but a dramatic tale of contemporary family life all the same.
    CivilZen H Super Reviewer
  • Oct 04, 2010
    George is having a bad year. Divorced, alone, estranged from his loser son, behind the times, he has no motivation. Then in the same day he gets fired and finds out he has terminal cancer. What a start to a movie! I enjoy this sort of movie - as George is dying, he resolves his issues with his ex-wife and son, Sam. Sam is having a tough time of it as well - needing drugs just to get by and withdrawing from the world. With the help of Alyssa, Sam helps his dad build a house and becomes less self-centred.
    Red L Super Reviewer
  • Sep 05, 2010
    I am a big fan of Kevin Kline, and I think that this is one of his best movies. Very moving, and very well done. Great for anyone who likes a good drama.
    Cynthia S Super Reviewer
  • Apr 25, 2010
    A moving story of a man determined to reestablish a connection to his troubled teenage son and his ex-wife and of his determination to leave a legacy before dying. Kevin Kline does some brilliant work here as George a man who finds out he has cancer on the day he gets released from the job he has held for twenty years. Kristen Scott Thomas as the ex, Robin is equally brilliant. Her character, a frustrated mother and an ignored wife, engendered sympathy and her ambivalence over reconnecting to her ex was totally believable. But, without, the performance of Hayden Christiansen as Sam, the troubled teen, this would have been a much less gripping tale. Watching him grow up, and become ready to take his place in the world is what made this special. Jena Malone as the free-spirited girl-next-door, Alyssa, and Mary Steenburgen as Alyssa's mom were excellent in supporting roles as was the rest of the supporting cast. The scenery, on the California coast, was gorgeous. The cinematography breathtaking, and the story had one laughing one minute and weeping the next. A brilliant film that had all the right elements to make it memorable.
    Mark A Super Reviewer

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