The House of the Spirits Reviews

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May 22, 2018
The greatest actors in the world can't overcome a script that boils everything down to the Esperanto of cliche.
May 22, 2018
Nearly every magic detail, many key characters and half a generation has been sacrificed to clarify the plot. But so much has been cut away that only the skeleton of the story remains.
May 20, 2013
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.
May 20, 2013
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.
May 20, 2013
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.
May 20, 2013
This isn't just a bad movie -- it's hugely, grandiosely, pompously bad.
May 20, 2013
Similar epics are made with more conviction and less pretension on daytime TV.
May 20, 2013
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.
May 20, 2013
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.
May 20, 2013
It's always painful when a brilliant book becomes a bust of a movie.
May 20, 2013
This is really quite an achievement. It brings together Jeremy Irons, Meryl Streep, Winona Ryder, Antonio Banderas, and Vanessa Redgrave and insures that, without exception, they all give their worst performances ever.
May 20, 2013
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.
May 20, 2013
Given the talents involved, the film's hesitations in style and consistent failure to really move must be counted as a major disappointment.
September 7, 2011
August's earnest International Motion Picture Adaptation remains all too tethered to earth, weighted down by a surfeit of good intentions.
September 26, 2008
Just as the characters' motivations are mostly crude rather than complex, and the view of class politics superficial and romantic rather than acute or intelligent, so is the film's treatment of the novel's magical realism on the mundane side.
October 27, 2006
A total misfire, from conception to execution to casting. With the exception of Banderas, all the leads are played by American and British actors.
Top Critic
February 9, 2006
Irons gives an excruciating performance - what Streep's genuinely warm, wonderful Clara sees in him you'd need ESP to fathom.
November 22, 2004
Sterling cast, but a thoroughly mundane movie
October 3, 2003
May 20, 2003
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