In the House


Generally favorable reviews - based on 25 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 25
  2. Negative: 0 out of 25
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  1. Reviewed by: Kimberley Jones
    May 15, 2013
    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.
  2. Reviewed by: Tom Russo
    May 9, 2013
    After all the mesmerizingly illicit buildup, the film’s willful lack of a payoff is almost as strange as one of those essays.
  3. Reviewed by: Lawrence Toppman
    May 19, 2013
    These veterans realize they’re all playing cogs in the director’s plot-twisting machine.
  4. Reviewed by: Jim Emerson
    May 9, 2013
    After a while, it seems to run out of places to go, but for most of its running time, it’s a wickedly clever divertissement.
  5. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Apr 26, 2013
    In the House does at least engage us. It even enlists us implicitly as co-conspirators in Claude’s devious storytelling.
  6. Reviewed by: Guy Lodge
    Apr 15, 2013
    Ozon weaves another spellbinding tale that mingles the real and imaginery with terrific effect.
  7. Reviewed by: Jordan Hoffman
    Apr 17, 2013
    In the House is crafty and juicy and ought to delight anyone whose ever thumped their chest about being a storyteller. I must confess, however, that somewhere in the third act the air started to leak from the balloon.
  8. Reviewed by: Betsy Sharkey
    Apr 18, 2013
    François Ozon can usually be counted on for dark irony of the juiciest sort...But the filmmaker has an especially deft touch when a dash of comedy is mixed in. He uses this to delicious effect in his latest, In the House.
  9. 75
    For all its pleasures, as Germaine nudges Claude toward that “ideal” ending that will make the reader say “I never saw that coming” and “It could not have ended any other way” at the same time, one only wishes this absorbing but melodramatic film had taken that advice.
  10. Reviewed by: Rene Rodriguez
    May 9, 2013
    In the House seems to be building toward a cathartic and unexpected finale. Instead, you get a baffling fizzle — an inexcusably limp and unimaginative conclusion that doesn’t bring a single plot strand to a satisfying end.
  11. Reviewed by: Elizabeth Weitzman
    Apr 18, 2013
    Neither Claude nor Ozon comes up with a satisfying finish to this intriguing setup. But because they’re both so committed to seducing their audience, it’s a lot of fun watching them try.
  12. Reviewed by: Rex Reed
    Apr 16, 2013
    There are humorous intrusions (e.g., an art show at Jeanne’s gallery that includes Nazi symbols constructed from penises), and great performances throughout.
  13. Reviewed by: Kyle Smith
    Apr 18, 2013
    In the House promises to be a social satire with a flash of Hitchcockian menace, but gradually it turns into a routine thumb-sucker on reality versus fiction.
  14. Reviewed by: Ella Taylor
    Apr 18, 2013
    In the House is often mordantly funny. Luchini is France's master of deadpan comedy: When he does farce, it carries an undertow of sorrow, and vice versa.
  15. Reviewed by: Nick McCarthy
    Apr 17, 2013
    It's buoyant and titillates, striking that distinctly Ozonian balance between the beautiful and the sinister, but it doesn't resonate.
  16. Reviewed by: Noel Murray
    Apr 17, 2013
    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.
  17. Reviewed by: Peter Bradshaw
    Apr 15, 2013
    A black-comic psychological drama with poise and self-possession. Featuring Fabrice Luchini and Kristin Scott Thomas, how could it have anything else?
  18. Reviewed by: A.O. Scott
    Apr 18, 2013
    In the House weaves a pleasant and clever spell, manipulating the viewer much in the way that Claude plays with Germain.
  19. Reviewed by: Anthony Lane
    Apr 22, 2013
    It seems not just against the odds but against the laws of nature that a film as bookish, as suburban, and as self-consciously clever as In the House should also be such fun.
  20. Reviewed by: Eric Hynes
    Apr 16, 2013
    Characters seem less entrapped by their desires than by plot necessities — a fact that’s not redeemed by Ozon’s winking self-awareness.
  21. Reviewed by: James Mottram
    Apr 15, 2013
    Utterly assured, breathtakingly executed and riotously funny, this is a delight.
  22. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Apr 18, 2013
    With its complex look at storytelling, imagination and the teacher-student dynamic, In the House is an elaborate cinematic fresco.
  23. Reviewed by: Peter Debruge
    Apr 18, 2013
    More inspired by than adapted from Juan Mayorga’s play “The Boy in the Last Row,” this low-key thriller feels like a return to form for Ozon, whose pictures lost their psychosexual edge after the helmer stopped collaborating with Emmanuele Bernheim (“Swimming Pool”).
  24. Reviewed by: Zachary Wigon
    Apr 16, 2013
    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.
  25. Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    Apr 18, 2013
    The cleverness gives considerable pleasure until the story grows absurd and the story within the story turns unpleasant, like the creepily precocious young man who tells it.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 19 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
    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 aHaven’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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