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The Good House Movie Review

The Good House(2022) movie poster
The Good House

Theatrical Release: September 30, 2022 / Running Time: 103 Minutes / Rating: PG-13

Directors: Maya Forbes, Wally Wolodarsky / Writers: Maya Forbes, Wally Wolodarsky, Thomas Bezucha (screenplay); Ann Leary (novel)

Cast: Sigourney Weaver (Hildy Good), Kevin Kline (Frank Getchell), Morena Baccarin (Rebecca McAllister), Rob Delaney (Peter Newbold), David Rasche (Scott Good), Rebecca Henderson (Tess Good), Molly Brown (Emily Good), Kathryn Erbe (Wendy Heatherton), Kelly AuCoin (Brian McAllister), Georgia Lyman (Cassie Dwight), James LaBlanc (Patch Dwight), Silas Pereira-Olson (Jake Dwight), Paul Guilfoyle (Henry Barlow), Beverly D'Angelo (Mamie Lang),


Sigourney Weaver turns 73 next month and she has been acting in film for the past 45 of those years. Somehow, though, Weaver manages to do something she hasn't done in a long time: take top billing in a theatrical movie. To achieve that, Weaver also does something she's never done before: star in a movie strictly tailored to old people.

Weaver may meet the definition of senior citizen by any metric other than appearance, but that's important enough in Hollywood to keep her in demand in high profile fare. And who would have it any other way? By defying aging and anything remotely resembling scandal, Weaver has become as respected a senior stateswoman of genre fare as anyone, ranking right up there with Halloween's Jamie Lee Curtis. If you're making a sci-fi or horror movie and want someone to supply immediate clout, you get one of these two women. Weaver's 21st century resume rivals that of a succesful actress half her age, with notable credits which include The Cabin in the Woods, WALL-E, two separate Ghostbusters reboots, and Avatar and its finally unspooling parade of promised sequels.

"The Good House" stars Sigourney Weaver as Hildy Good, a real estate agent with a drinking problem.

The Good House gives the accomplished actress more to do than any of those movies have with a lead role of substance and weight. Weaver plays Hildy Good, a successful lifelong real estate agent in , a town in Boston's North Shore. Hildy has a drinking problem that's serious enough to prompt an intervention from her two daughters, her ex-husband, and a colleague. But it's not serious enough to stop her from drinking red wine throughout the film, often while rationalizing it in direct camera addresses as her two dogs appear to judge her.

Hildy is struggling to sell a big house she needs to unload. To help, she even takes the drastic measures of paying for some interior repairs herself, contracting genial local fisherman and one-time flame Frank Getchell (Kevin Kline) to do the job. Business spills over to pleasure, as the two spark a romance, though it's not as central to the film as the poster art implies.

While hiding and denying her dependence on alcohol, Hildy also becomes a confidant to Rebecca McAllister (Deadpool's Morena Baccarin), an affluent artist who begins seeing local psychologist Peter Newbold (Deadpool 2's Rob Delaney) but not for therapy. Their affair is but one of the several threads the film follows. The tone mostly remains light and breezy, like having Hildy read palms as a descendant of Salem witches. But there is darkness afoot, culminating in a dramatic final act of twists that is pretty hard to accept or defend.

Alas, The Good House does not invite harsh criticism. How could it while serving as a showcase for a beloved performer, ignoring long-held truths about actresses aging out of Hollywood roles generally at age 40, and sprinkling in for no clear reason some choice classic songs from the '60s?

Kevin Kline and Sigourney Weaver play Boston area Boomers who still got it in "The Good House."

It's a strange time to make a movie for the Boomer crowd and release it to theaters, even during an off season with historically light competition. The people most likely to enjoy this movie are far more likely to stay in and watch CBS sitcoms or the news than to venture to their multiplex and have their jaws dropped over how high inflation has driven ticket and concession prices.

It should not surprise viewers that The Good House is based on a book, the 2013 New York Times bestseller of the same name by Ann Leary. What is more surprising is the couple who shared directing duties here: Maya Forbes and Wallace Wolodarsky. They have been married since 2004, but it's tough to make sense of their shared and individual credits. Forbes, a Harvard alum, got her start writing and producing for HBO's "The Larry Sanders Show" in the 1990s. She made her directing and solo writing debut on 2015's Infinitely Polar Bear, a good indie dramedy based on her own childhood experiences as the daughter of a man suffering from bipolar disorder. It was a promising and personal debut led by a strong Mark Ruffalo performance. While one expected to see more films like that from Forbes, instead we got Netflix's Jack Black farce The Polka King, which she co-wrote with Wolodarsky, a writer during the early years of "The Simpsons", who has lent his voice, likeness, and surname to various Wes Anderson films.

The two have collaborated to the scripts of such disparate works as Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days, DreamWorks Animation's Monsters vs. Aliens, and Trolls World Tour, and the canine dramas A Dog's Purpose and A Dog's Journey. They don't seem interested in settling on a niche and for two decades, the industry has been okay with that.

Opening in a limited number of theaters on September 30th, more than a year after it premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, The Good House does not seem likely to do much of anything for the careers of anyone on either side of its camera. But it's hard to be disappointed in any major way by a film that is admirably honoring the theatrical tradition, giving something for the writers of AARP to cover, telling a story about older people that isn't just aging and Viagra jokes, and giving roles of substance to talented veterans too good to stay on the fringes.

Related Reviews:
Now in Theaters: Three Thousand Years of LongingThe Silent Twins | Now Streaming: Pinocchio
Written and Directed by Maya Forbes: Infinitely Polar Bear | Starring Kevin Kline & Sigourney Weaver: The Ice StorM
Kevin Kline: Last VegasDean | Sigourney Weaver: The TV SetYou Again | Morena Baccarin & Rob Delaney: Deadpool 2
Old People Movies: The CallingThe InternJesse Stone: No RemorseGoing in StyleRobot & Frank

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Reviewed September 19, 2022.

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