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Generally favorable reviews - based on 41 Critics What's this?

User Score
7.8

Generally favorable reviews- based on 88 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: A gripping exploration of the American Dream gone awry, House of Sand and Fog is the story of two people driven to desperate measures to claim ownership of a house. (DreamWorks Pictures)
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 30 out of 41
  2. Negative: 1 out of 41
  1. 100
    It stands with integrity and breaks our hearts.
  2. The movie's intense watchability can be traced directly to superb performances by Jennifer Connelly and Ben Kingsley.
  3. Reviewed by: Glenn Kenny
    88
    Ben Kingsley and Jennifer Connelly create characters that live and seethe with absolute credibility, and Ron Eldard’s Lester is a subtle portrait of a good man who lets himself go bad, first out of boredom, then out of erotic fixation.
  4. It's a sad, rich story, full of misunderstandings, bad bargains, odd parallels.
  5. 70
    Might've been a great film without Lester, the Deputy, getting in the way of the key relationship between Behrani and Kathy.
  6. Reviewed by: Angie Errigo
    60
    There's a desperately inevitable, powerfully tragic last reel, but getting there is absolute torture.
  7. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    30
    This is a movie that sends you out shuddering, chuckling nervously, wanting to tell the people in line for the next show, "It's the feel-bad movie of the year!"

See all 41 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 50 out of 59
  2. Negative: 8 out of 59
  1. Nov 17, 2012
    10
    The film has a brilliant urgency to it. It is also unrelenting and unmerciful. House of Sand and Fog isn't a blow to the head, it's a blow to the soul. Expand
  2. May 16, 2012
    8
    Throughout this movie, the talented Vadim Perelman uses beautiful cinematographic moments to enhance the already heavy melodrama that is 'House of Sand and Fog'. There are no better words to describe the genre of this movie than tragedy, and that's why so, so many of the reviews use it. It was exactly that, a tragedy. The talented Ben Kingsley was certainly a good choice to play the lead role here; no one can play foreign characters with as much attention to details, deliver high emotion with as much reserve as Kingsley. My last review (You Kill Me) where he was mentioned happens to have referred to this movie 'House of Sandâ Expand
  3. Jul 16, 2013
    8
    Its not exactly an uplifting film, but with Ben Kingsley and Jennifer Connelly's absolutely masterful performances, James Horner's mesmerizing score, Roger Deakins perfect cinematography, and an overall sense of thematic majesty, "House Of Sand And Fog" makes for an almost unforgivably indelible film. Expand
  4. Aug 14, 2013
    5
    This gloomy tale is about ex-addict Kathy (Connelly) being evicted from her house and Colonel Behrani (Kingsley), a refugee forced to leave Iran with his family due to the fall of the Shah. Behrani buys the house in a desperate attempt to redress is financial situation, thus starting an escalating fight with Kathy.

    Behrani is a stoic man, burdened with an impractical wife and a couple of children who are eating up all his income. The man works two jobs, while his family seems blissfully unaware of what is going on.
    Kathy is introduced while on the phone, lying to her family. The camera shows a dirty house and unopened letters on the floor. Not the sort of introduction to elicit sympathy.

    Enraged by being evicted from her house (because she was too lazy to open her mail), Kathy hires a lawyer and proceeds to manipulate Lester, a married cop, into doing some dirty work for her.Like most addicts, Kathy seems incapable to take responsibilities. Throughout the movie she is constantly blaming someone else or on the verge of drowning in self-pity.

    The only thing Kathy and Behrani have in common is that they both lie to their families. They both are slightly unsympathetic, but the antipathy award goes to Lester, the policeman who embarks in the extramarital affair with Kathy, dumps wife and kids and starts threating Behrani until the bitter end.

    I read the novel and liked the fact that the writer did not take sides. You really get the idea that two wrongs do not make one right. However, the movie failed to produce the same effect. Kathy comes across as the wrong one, the pushy, needy, weak, spoiled woman with a passive-aggressive attitude who can only manipulate or cry her way through life. Therefore, I found the movie disappointing.
    Expand

See all 59 User Reviews