mulder42 - April 19, 2005
David Duchovny's writing and directorial debut film, House of D, is a story of a boy wishing to become a man much too quickly. Twelve (soon to be 13) -year old Tommy Warshaw (Anton Yelchin) lives with his mother (Téa Leoni), recently widowed, in New York City's Greenwich Village neighborhood in 1973. He helps his best friend Pappass (Robin Williams), who is mentally retarded, deliver meat on an old rickety bicycle. They get along just fine, playing stickball after school with his friends, until he starts to have feelings for a girl from another school, Melissa (Zelda Williams).
One day, while he's burying his tips from meat delivering (so Pappass' father won't steal it) at the Women's House of Detention, a prison right in the middle of the city, an inmate (Erykah Badu) strikes up a conversation with him. And so begins an odd sort of relationship, with Tommy on the ground, and "Lady" up above, behind bars, with a jagged piece of mirror the only way she can see him. Technically, her character could be considered a cliché, but she gives Tommy sound advice, while his mom pops pills at home, hoping to zone out in her grief.
Pappass, noticing that he may be soon losing his best friend, does something drastic, and Tommy takes the blame for him. And then his mother takes one too many pills and winds up in the hospital in a coma. With the walls closing in on him, he goes to see his unseen friend Lady at the House of D. Knowing that the boy will go into a downward spiral if she doesn't talk some sense into him, tells a lie about herself in order for Tommy to "be free." And so Tommy leaves New York, Pappass and Melissa, and heads to Paris, France, where he becomes an artist, living in a self-imposed exile. Thirty years later, with a wife (Magali Amadei) and a 13-year-old son (Harold Cartier) of his own, he tells them the story of his life when he was younger.
Knowing that he'll never go forward with them if he doesn't confront his past, Thomas' wife tells him he must go back to New York to face his demons. And so he goes back to the United States, finds Lady (real name Bernadette) and Pappass, and begins to start a new life with his family.
House of D will make you laugh, cry, and think about life. Even if you're not a Duchovny fan, give the film a try, and you might like it. There was a nice X-Files-ish moment when Thomas was at Bernadette's apartment building. When he got outside, Lady called him back from her window, and that was the first time he saw her face. They talked a little bit, and Thomas started to cry, raising his hands in the air, kind of like when Mulder did in ONE BREATH. Anton & Erykah give fantastic performances without actually being in the same scenes together.
You've probably read a bunch of negative reviews for this film, but the film the critics' saw is not the one I did. Go see it with an open mind, and come to your own conclusions. If you still don't like it, at least you weren't swayed by someone that gets paid to watch flicks for a living.
I think House of D is a phenomenal film. For David's first movie, he can only get better. He has a true talent that should be shared with the world. All I can do is tell you to go see it, and tell people you did. My rating: A+, 10, 4 stars, thumbs up--all that good stuff...
As around the sun the earth knows she's revolving
House of D
Tommy Warshaw: Anton Yelchin
You never know who your angel's gonna be
tampabay1701 - April 18, 2005
The original plan for this weekend was to have spent the time at Disney World. Of course, being my life, only a planned trip to "the happiest place on earth" would somehow change to being literally dragged by friends to see a movie that I didn't want to see in the first place and sitting in the dark next to my husband, Mr. "Oh, Tea Leone, she's hot!". I never read anything about the movie other than the basics, so I didn't know anything about the story, or what to expect.
I not only ended up liking this movie, but it affected me so much that I ended up crying. And I just don't cry at movies (Bambi died - no tears; E.T. dies - still no tears.) I bawled my eyes out during House of D. I also ended up laughing a lot too.
Maybe I was just in one of those moods -- hormornal or something. Maybe it's the fact that, for once, I got to watch a movie that had a "happy ending" at the conclusion of it. I can't tell you. But all I do know is that the movie I watched yesterday was not the movie that has been trashed to kingdom come by all of the critics out there.
Is House of D the best movie ever made? No. If I wanted to play "critic" I'm sure that I could say a few things about it. And considering the mood I was in before the movie started, I'm actually surprised that I can't sit here and name a few things that could be considered "flaws." But considering a lot of the crap that has been pushed out by the entertainment industry lately, I can't fathom why so many so-called "experts" are claiming that this movie is so bad.
Maybe my friends are right - according to them, there are some "film" critics who work from the mentality that "some guy from some weird TV show has no right to think that he is good enough to write and direct a movie" which has lead these critics to use descriptions in their reviews that are usually save for the latest Barry Manilow CD. And it actually scares me to think that I was one of those people who believed that "all of those bad reviews have to mean something." Never again.
I'm crossing my fingers in hope that House of D opens here locally in Tampa. I have no problem taking my friends with me to see it again. This movie has to be given a chance to be seen by more people. Lions Gate is dropping the ball on this one -- this is a gem that deserves to shine.
msk - April 18, 2005
This is truly a sentimental journey that felt very authentic to me. The movie was visually striking, most of the performances were spot on. Anton Yelchin is going to be a big star--he's a fine actor and handled a tough role in a compelling way. Erykah Badu stole all of her scenes and Zelda Williams was fresh and natural. Tea Leoni did a great job as a troubled, griefstricken woman--a role that could have been repellent in lesser hands. David Duchovny was subtle and yet powerful in his scenes. The only character that didn't quite do it for me was Robin Williams' retarded janitor. I never felt he was truly inhabiting the character.
A few of the details didn't quite ring true for me, but then other images are still swimming in my head--occasionally bringing a tear to my eyes as I remember the poignancy of the story.
I think this was a good film, but more importantly, it was an interesting film. We left the theater and went to Starbucks where we talked for well over an hour about the film--then discussed it on the long ride home. To me, that is the sign of a film worth seeing--that it makes you think and gives plenty of opportunity for analysis.