GOOD HOUSE, THE
(director/writer: Maya Forbes/Wallace Wolodarsky; screenwriters: novel “The Good House” by Ann Leary/Thomas Bezucha; cinematographer: Andrei Bowden-Schwartz; editor: Catherine Haight; music:Theodore Shapiro; cast: Sigourney Weaver (Hildy Good), Kevin Kline (Frank Getchell), Morena Baccarin (Rebecca McAllister), Rob Delaney (Peter Newbold), David Rasche (Scott Good), Beverly D’Angelo (Mamie Lang), Paul Guilfoyle (Henry Barlow), Kathryn Erbe (Wendy Heatherton), Kelly AuCoin (Brian McAllister); Runtime: 114; MPAA Rating: NR; producers; Jane Rosenthal, Berry Welsh, Aaron Ryder: Electric Dynamite; 2021)
“Well-acted and sound drama.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
The husband and wife directing team of Maya Forbes and Wallace Wolodarsky (“The Polka King”) are co-directors and co-writers of this well-acted and sound drama, that’s based on Ann Leary’s 2013 novel of ‘The Good House.’ The third writer is co-writer Thomas Bezucha.
Hildy Good (Sigourney Weaver, in her sixties) is a well-known successful veteran realtor, who is smart but world-weary, and her run of good luck might be coming to an end. She comes from a family that goes way back in time in this old New England town, who suffered because her ancestors were accused of being witches back in the days when the Puritans back then were even nastier than the modern-day Puritans.
She has lived most of her life in the fictional affluent New England town of Wendover, Ma. (it was shot in Nova Scotia), where the aging realtor is currently in a career slump, as her house sales are down. To cope with that crisis, she started drinking and has developed a drinking problem over too much wine that sent her to rehab. During her time away from the office, the likable new agent in her office, her protege, Wendy (Kathryn Erbe), has stolen most of her clients and has become her rival.
Hildy still lives in the same gossipy town where her ex-husband (David Rasche), who left her a long time ago for another man, still lives. Hildy also has two grown daughters living in town, who forced her into rehab.
When the married new young neighbor Rebecca McAllister (Morena Baccarin), married to workaholic Brian (Kelly AuCoin), arrives in town after buying a house from Hildy, Hildy takes her under her wing until she drops her because of town pressure over gossip. Wendy is having a dicey affair with the young married psychiatrist Peter Newbold (Rob Delaney).
Meanwhile Hildy’s life begins to unravel when she again romances the grizzled local handyman Frank (Kevin Kline, who is 74), someone she has known since childhood. The town contemptuously refers to him as “the smelly garbage man.”
It’s a soap opera melodrama, with Weaver at times looking right at the camera to introduce characters or deliver a monologue on the dangers of drinking too much wine or just telling us what’s on her mind. What won me over was how well Weaver and Kline performed together, as they did previously in Dave (1973) and in The Ice Storm (1997). What turned me off was the breaking of the fourth-wall barrier which gave the film a stagey look.
It was good to see Beverly D’Angelo, who appears here in a cameo as Hildy’s best fiend–the town drunk.
It premiered at the recent Toronto Film Festival.
REVIEWED ON 11/21/2021 GRADE: B-