Life As A House Review

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After losing his job and discovering he has four months to live, George, an architectural model-maker, decides to dedicate his last summer to renovating his wreck of a house, in the process rebuilding his relationship with his estranged son.


Given an inexplicably easy critical ride in the States, Winkler's lush family drama was always likely to founder in Blighty's more cynical climes. And it deserved to.

What starts out as a promisingly unpleasant portrait of unhappy rich people quickly degenerates into the sort of sentimental, manipulative trash that was once the staple of numerous insufferable TV movies before HBO came along.

Unfeasibly gorgeous sunsets abound, and the extended metaphor is even more heavy-handed than the title suggests.

Kline's performance is good, but not great. And not good enough to earn him a critically-touted Oscar nomination, even though he 'bonds' with his cartoon rebel of a kid and finds 'closure' before succumbing to the Big C - which is probably all very relevant in the post-September 11 era. If only they had squeezed in a hint of mental disability; that would've sewn it up.

Tear-jerking piffle with all the emotional resonance of Little House On The Prairie. Mildly redeemed by the quality of its performances, the best of which comes from Scott Thomas.