Two events shock George (Kevin Kline) from his middle-aged apathy. The first is his sacking by the architects for whom he made models. The second – after he collapses and is rushed to hospital – is a diagnosis of terminal cancer. He begins two life-affirming projects: to destroy his squalid prefab, and take charge of his loner son, Sam (Hayden Christensen). The boy rebels, but is won over after his father’s teenage neighbour Alyssa (Jena Malone) takes an interest in him. Renewing the friendship with his ex-wife (Kristin Scott Thomas), George begins to rebuild his life, and must decide whether to tell his family that his time is running out…
Working on the principle that nothing concentrates the mind like a death sentence, this gentle drama echoes Philip Larkin’s sentiment that ‘Home is so sad, shaped to the comfort of the last to go, as if to win them back.’ But the gloom installed by George’s diagnosis is soon lifted by its consequences. Kline – perfectly cast – is a top-drawer everyman, giving George a hint of Capra without approaching melodrama.
Christensen, who proved the curse of George Lucas by turning into a mannequin when faced with a light saber, shows he is an able and convincing young actor when allowed near more substantial work and like George, the film left a legacy. The wonderful wooden house set was later dismantled, expanded and rebuilt in Brentwood, California, where it became a school library.
USA | 125 minutes | 2001
Director: Irwin Winkler
Writer: Mark Andrus
Kristin Scott Thomas as Robin Kimball
Hayden Christensen as Sam Monroe
Kevin Kline as George Monroe
Jena Malone as Alyssa Beck
Mary Steenburgen as Colleen Beck
Ian Somerhalder as Josh
Scott Bakula as Officer Kurt Walker
Sandra Nelson as Nurse
Sam Robards as David Dokos
and this just in
Ice Cold in Alex (1958, John Mills, Sylvia Syms)
The year is 1942 and, almost inevitably for the period, the star is Captain John Mills, commander of a motor...
Mr. Nice Guy (1997, Jackie Chan, Richard Norton)
Jackie Chan’s first all-English language feature sees him play a popular TV chef able, at public demonstrations, to flick fragments...
Multiplicity (1996, Michael Keaton, Andie MacDowell)
‘There are four excellent reasons to see Multiplicity , and they’re all named Michael Keaton’ Variety wrote about this cloning...
Overboard (1987, Goldie Hawn, Kurt Russell)
Grant Stayton III and his wife Joanna (Edward Herrmann and Goldie Hawn) are among America’s obnoxious super rich, enjoying a...
Never Talk to Strangers (1995, Rebecca De Mornay, Antonio Banderas)
Never Talk to Strangers is Sir Peter Hall’s erotic psychological thriller that had to be re-edited for the American market...
Stan Against Evil: Intensive Scare Unit (S3EP7 IFC Wed 21 Nov 2018)
Intensive Scare Unit: Stan goes for a prostate exam but must escape when the hospital turns demonic. Airdate: Wednesday 21...
Greenleaf: The New Life (Season Finale OWN Wed 21 Nov 2018)
The New Life: After the success of her big day, Lady Mae is denied the right to run Calvary despite...
Stan Against Evil: Stan Against Evie (S3EP8 IFC Wed 21 Nov 2018)
Stan Against Evie: Haurus demands Stan kill Evie in return for killing Constable Eccles and ending the curse on Willard’s...
Red Beret, The (1953, Alan Ladd, Leo Genn)
‘I never make a war film without two things,’ director Terence Young explained in 1967. ‘A clause in my contract...
Guinevere (1999, Sarah Polley, Stephen Rea)
At the wedding of her sister Susan (Emily Proctor), diffident Harper Sloane (Sarah Polley) has one wish: to be ignored....
WarGames (1983, Matthew Broderick, Ally Sheedy)
John Badham, whose breakthrough as a director came with Saturday Night Fever and who went on to direct Blue Thunder...