April 29, 2005 - by dlynn

Me, myself, and I had a good time

I went to the first showing today in Winter Park, FL. Regrettably, it was a private showing. The location is good: in an artsy section of town, down the street from the Enzian, a theater that spotlights independent and art films, but there's just no publicity. There's not even a poster up in the theater lobby; so if you don't know what the House of D is, you will probably scratch your head and go, "huh?"

Things I liked:

One of my favorite scenes was the "hug a post" scene, where Lady's trying to teach Tommy to dance. I laughed. I loved the singing ... and I loved the follow through at the real dance where Tommy sticks his arms out as though he's still dancing with the post.

I liked the attention to detail. I, too, was thirteen in 1973, and I kept thinking ..."wow, I remember that," (i.e. the little plastic knocker balls that you twirled in the air and tried to clink up and down. I was very good at them)

Loved Anton and Eryka. I wasn't as bothered with Robin Williams as others have been; although, I did think of other characters he's played.

I kept thinking of the song Puff the Magic Dragon: the relationship of Tommy and Pappass.

Having lost four family members in the past two years, I could relate to Pappass and Tea's character, watching the world continue forward, knowing change is coming and wishing things could go backward or, at the very least, stay the same.

I loved how the meat guy's cartoon book showed up in the movie through Tommy's drawings.

I loved the "under the bed" is where Tommy felt safe, especially the last time after he turned off his mom's machines. In fact, I really enjoyed the continuity that occurred throughout ... how little things like peeing on the cigarette butts or the dogs peeing on Tommy's meat wagon ... how they kept showing up. Loved the mirror as a gift to Bernadette.

I was pleased there was no "goodbye" scene between Tommy and Melissa. Most of life's that way. People are there, and then they're gone ... I think it would have given that relationship too much importance to have had a "goodbye, Melissa!" scene.

Things that gave me pause:

How did Tommy get a passport?

I didn't like the second cousins showing up. I think it would have been better to have had a closer relative ... a brother, or grandparent ... or even a social worker. I know Tommy needed to feel terribly isolated (not knowing those people in his house), but I kept wondering where did "second" cousins come from, and how did they know to call them?

I love David's voice, and I didn't mind the voice over until we were in the flashback, and then I think I would have liked the voice over to transition to Tommy's young voice to ground me in the flashback. We could revert back to adult Tommy at the end, when we're coming out of the flashback. I found David's adult voice "jarring" in the flashback, and I was thankful when it stopped.

Pappass seemed to "grow-up" in smarts at the end, but then I thought ... he probably left his childhood, too, when Tommy left, as Pappass left more childish things in that he probably never had that kind of a friend or relationship again. So, maybe ... he did have an opportunity to grow more mature in his thoughts.

Overall, I enjoyed the movie. I laughed outright a few times, smiled in recognition several more ... and was very touched by the whole film. Sentimental yes, but I think that's a bit of a simplistic description.