Life as a House

Life as a House

Infobox Film
name = Life as a House

image_size = 200px
caption = Life as a House DVD
director = Irwin Winkler
producer = Rob Cowan
Irwin Winkler
writer = Mark Andrus
narrator =
starring = Kevin Kline
Kristin Scott Thomas
Hayden Christensen
Jena Malone
Mary Steenburgen
music = Mark Isham
cinematography = Vilmos Zsigmond
editing = Julie Monroe
distributor = New Line Cinema
Warner Bros. Pictures
released = 09 November2001
runtime = 126 mins
country = Bermuda
United States of America
language = English
budget =
gross =
preceded_by =
followed_by =
website =
amg_id =
imdb_id = 0264796

"Life as a House" is a 2001 drama film directed by Irwin Winkler. The film follows a man diagnosed with terminal cancer (Kevin Kline), who tries to repair his relationship with his drug addicted son (Hayden Christensen). The film is set in picturesque Rancho Palos Verdes, California and is notable for its dramatic use of the coast and of sunsets.


Kevin Kline plays George Monroe, who is fired from his job as a fabricator of architectural models, after his disillusionment with his job finally catches up with him. As he is cleaning out his desk and leaving the building, he suddenly collapses almost immediately after walking outside.

George is taken to the hospital, where he is diagnosed with terminal cancer. He enlists the help of his reluctant and rebellious son Sam (Hayden Christensen), to demolish the shack that George inherited from his abusive father, and to build an elegant home in its place.

During this experience, George reconnects with his son and his divorced wife Robin (Kristin Scott Thomas). The process of building the house is eye-opening for both George and Sam. Sam, in particular, changes from a rebellious, drug-abusing teen into something more closely resembling his father. This is evident in the final sequence, in which Sam gives the house to a woman disabled in a car accident caused by George's father, who was driving under the influence.

Character conflicts

*Robin divorced George Monroe ten years before the beginning of the film. Robin has remarried, but her feelings for George begin to resurface.
*Sam does not have a good relationship with anyone around him, and is known to have only one good friend at school.
*Robin's second marriage is to a wealthy, selfish businessman. She has two children with him, neither of whom he has time for.
*Sam Monroe's love interest, Alyssa Beck (Jena Malone) is dating a wealthy teen drug dealer and pimp named Josh, whom Sam looks to for money and marijuana.
*George Monroe realizes his neglect of his son over the years and tries to recapture the relationship he once had with Sam as a child.
*Sam puts up a fight to this new change, but finds a sense of power when he helps his dad tear down the house.


*Kevin Kline as George Monroe
*Kristin Scott Thomas as Robin Kimball
*Hayden Christensen as Sam Monroe
*Jena Malone as Alyssa Beck
*Mary Steenburgen as Colleen Beck
*Mike Weinberg as Adam Kimball
*Scotty Leavenworth as Ryan Kimball
*Ian Somerhalder as Josh
*Jamey Sheridan as Peter Kimball

Allusions to Guster

There are many instances in the movies that allude to Guster, an alternative rock band from Boston. In the film, the dog is named "Guster", and two of the main characters are named Ryan and Adam, after Guster's two main vocalists: Ryan Miller and Adam Gardner. Guster's songs "What You Wish For" and "Rainy Day" are also featured in the movie. Also, a license plate on a car in the film is "FAN 321", in reference to Guster's "fan2fan" mailing list and to the "4, 3, 2, 1" countdown in the song, "Barrel of a Gun".

External links

*imdb title|id=0264796|title=Life as a House

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