Metascore
72

Generally favorable reviews - based on 25 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 25
  2. Negative: 0 out of 25
  1. Reviewed by: Guy Lodge
    Apr 15, 2013
    100
    Ozon weaves another spellbinding tale that mingles the real and imaginery with terrific effect.
  2. Reviewed by: Noel Murray
    Apr 17, 2013
    91
    All the way up to the stunning final shot, Ozon urgently asks whether, for storytellers, it’s better to be on the outside looking in, or the inside looking out.
  3. Reviewed by: Zachary Wigon
    Apr 16, 2013
    90
    In the House is a mystery, but it investigates a far tougher riddle than what makes Claude tick—it's trying to figure out why, exactly, voyeurism and mystery delight us so. In the process, it delights us.
  4. Reviewed by: Kimberley Jones
    May 15, 2013
    89
    In the House, from the eclectic French filmmaker François Ozon (Under the Sand, 8 Women), is an almost perverse delight, an egghead thriller that slyly shell-games its truer purpose as an inquiry into the construction – and deconstruction – of fiction. Scratch deconstruction: Make that tear-the-house-down demolition.
  5. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Apr 18, 2013
    88
    With its complex look at storytelling, imagination and the teacher-student dynamic, In the House is an elaborate cinematic fresco.
User Score
7.6

Generally favorable reviews- based on 18 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 1
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 1
  3. Negative: 0 out of 1
  1. Apr 24, 2013
    8
    Haven’t been tracking Ozon’s output for awhile (his previous entry for me is TIME TO LEAVE 2005, 7/10), IN THE HOUSE apparently heralds a pleasing return with his most confident pace and killing panache, delineates a spellbinding yarn withholds which part is really happening and which part is our young writer’s fancy imagination.

    Slickly shot, the opening upbeat instrumental tune brings viewers instantly to the scenario of a joint action between a high school teacher (Luchini), a has-been below-bar writer and his finest pupil (Umhauer). With mutual assent, Umhauer (comes from a broken family and has to tend his maimed father all by himself) is encroaching one of his classmates’ (Ughetto) domestic domain using the practical stalking horse remedial lessons after school for the latter, whose perfect bourgeois life represents everything he is craving for, mostly a sensual middle-aged mother (Seigner). So he is writing down everything as a serial, detailing (fictional or not) what is happening inside the model family, and the teacher promises to read it, correct it, advice him how to become a real writer.

    Obviously from the very first chapter, Luchini has been intoxicated by the story (after a serial of disasters from the retrograded youth, Umhauer’s writing could never be more fetching), so is his wife (Thomas), a middle-class gallery owner who is in a dire situation and might lose the gallery if her new collection fail to please her new boss, twin sisters played by an unrecognisable Moreau. As we all fully aware, things will go haywire, and the reverberations will boomerang on someone, and in this case, it is Luchini himself, his life will disintegrate eventually.

    Borrowing Umhauer’s confession of using the present tense in his works, the film per se contains a certain present vibrancy which is extremely audience-friendly, engaging with a hefty gush of dialogs among its main characters (Luchini with Umhauer, Luchini with Thomas, and Umhauer’s self narrative), whether it is florid edification, or common conversations, all fittingly satirise the banality and futility of the status quo one is facing or trapped, like it is said in the film, literature and art cannot teach a person anything, we learn by simply living our lives.

    “Falling for your best friend’s mother” is a gimmick always has its broad market, especially for a motherless young boy in his puberty, the otherwise corny infatuation here has been ingeniously conflated with a voyeuristic angle for Luchini/Thomas and all its viewers, with its ambiguous credibility, it plays out appositely under Ozon’s helm, leaving every on-looker chewing on what has happened and anticipating the twist.

    Speaking of the twist, whose concoction is not so fully-developed, but anyhow it is a pleasant achievement, one’s seemly stable life can be undermined into a tailspin just like that, it is cinematic, but also cautionary.

    Luchini embodies his character with wry self-knowledge, loquacious cadences, swankily entering my top 10 BEST LEADING ACTOR race. Umhauer is the opposite youngster, scrawny, reserved but occasionally glistens with a sinister grin, a very well casting choice. Thomas has really found her way in her French-speaking realm and Seigner, enclosed by a perpetual aura of ennui even during the squabble with her hubby (Ménochet), by comparison, underplays herself and looks like she needs a good rest.

    The film ends with a fabulous mise-en-scene, various characters occupied by their own business (a protruding one involving two gun-shots), and we (like Luchini and Umhauer) occupy the front row, relish the privilege of peeping other peoples’ lives, colourful, vivid but never satisfied.
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