Life as a House

November 9th, 2001


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Still of Kevin Kline and Kristin Scott Thomas in Life as a HouseStill of Hayden Christensen and Jena Malone in Life as a HouseScott Bakula at event of Life as a HouseStill of Kevin Kline in Life as a HouseStill of Kristin Scott Thomas in Life as a HouseStill of Hayden Christensen in Life as a House

When a man is diagnosed with terminal cancer, he takes custody of his misanthropic teenage son, for whom quality time means getting high, engaging in small-time prostitution, and avoiding his father.

Release Year: 2001

Rating: 7.5/10 (24,065 voted)

Critic's Score: 45/100

Director: Irwin Winkler

Stars: Hayden Christensen, Kevin Kline, Kristin Scott Thomas

George Monroe is a lonely and sad man. Divorced for ten years, he lives alone on the Southern California coast with his pet dog in the same run down shack he has lived in for twenty-five years, the shack which his father passed down to him. In the intervening years, ostentatious houses have sprung up around him. He's been at the same architectural firm for twenty years in a job he hates, which primarily consists of building scale models. On the day that he is fired from his job, he is diagnosed with an advanced case of terminal cancer, which he chooses not to disclose to his family. In many ways, this day is the happiest of his recent life in that he decides to spend what little time he has left doing what he really wants to do, namely build a house he can call his own to replace the shack. He also wants his rebellious sixteen year old son, Sam Monroe, to live with him for the summer...

Kevin Kline - George Monroe
Kristin Scott Thomas - Robin Kimball
Hayden Christensen - Sam Monroe
Jena Malone - Alyssa Beck
Mary Steenburgen - Colleen Beck
Mike Weinberg - Adam Kimball
Scotty Leavenworth - Ryan Kimball
Ian Somerhalder - Josh
Jamey Sheridan - Peter Kimball
Scott Bakula - Officer Kurt Walker
Sandra Nelson - Nurse #1
Sam Robards - David Dokos
John Pankow - Bryan Burke
Kim Delgado - Bob Larson
Barry Primus - Tom

Taglines: Seen from a distance, it's perfect.


Official Website: New Line |

Release Date: 9 November 2001

Filming Locations: Bermuda

Box Office Details

Budget: $18,000,000(estimated)

Opening Weekend: $294,056 (USA) (28 October 2001) (29 Screens)

Gross: $15,652,637 (USA) (30 December 2001)

Technical Specs

Runtime:  | Argentina:  | Finland:  | Spain:

Did You Know?

The original script called for the Guster song "All the Way up to Heaven" to be used in the "car" scene that used the Guster song "Rainy Day" instead.

Continuity: When nurse #1 strokes George's cheek, she reaches out with her left hand to do so. The shot over her shoulder shows her stroking his cheek with her right.

George: With every crash of every wave, I hear something now. I never listened before. I'm on the edge of a cliff, listening. Almost finished.
George: If you were a house , Sam, this is where you would want to be built: on rock, facing the sea. Listening. Listening.

User Review

Surprised this didn't get more recognition


"Life as a House" is not an easy film to watch. Its story is piercingly poignant, sometimes depraved, and unbearably sad. If you insist on flashy amusements and naive happy endings in your films, this is not for you. If you are "real" though, about the dynamics of our troubled lives, then it is for you. And if you are sensitive, then this is a film you can only watch about once a year.

It is well written, directed, and acted, especially by Kevin Kline and Kristin Scott Thomas. Hayden Christensen gives us the same believable anger, sullenness and pathos as his Anakin Skywalker character did in Episode II; maybe better. He makes a good troubled teen. And Jena Malone is good with the script she is dealt.

I'd recommend this film to anyone.