The House of the Spirits Reviews

May 22, 2018
The greatest actors in the world can't overcome a script that boils everything down to the Esperanto of cliche.
May 20, 2013
The thing works in its goofy way, mainly because Bille August is a man of apparently dauntless conviction. He has written and directed every scene with serene authority.
May 20, 2013
The flaws aren't fatal. The beauty and brilliance that might have been, don't preclude the quality and bravery that exist on the screen.
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
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.
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.
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.
August 30, 2004
It does take daring chances with a book that could not have been adapted otherwise, using extraordinary actors to rise above its occasional lapses. The lack of fidelity is often offset by intelligence of a subtler kind.
January 1, 2000
Cinematographer Jorgen Persson gives The House of the Spirits plenty of picturesque moments, but August's stolid, straightforward direction isn't suited to Allende's magical-realist voice.
January 1, 2000
Bille August has done a fine job with Isable Allende's tale, crafting a captivating motion picture, but it's hard not to recognize the flaws, and wonder about the lost potential.
January 1, 2000
The viewer doesn't have to be familiar with the book, however, to realize the film's a pretentious failure.
January 1, 2000
All of the characters have the right names, all of the necessary events occur, and indeed the very best local actors have been engaged. But the soul has been mislaid.