Review this movie
Sep 14, 2015In the House is a French film by director Francois Ozon about a student teacher relationship that starts off oddly, and as it evolves gets stranger along the way. The trigger of their connection involves a paper the student writes for an assignment about his weekend, which involves a visit to a family’s house, one of a classmate who he’s tutoring. Then he writes another paper and thenIn the House is a French film by director Francois Ozon about a student teacher relationship that starts off oddly, and as it evolves gets stranger along the way. The trigger of their connection involves a paper the student writes for an assignment about his weekend, which involves a visit to a family’s house, one of a classmate who he’s tutoring. Then he writes another paper and then another, all about his stories in this house, and it becomes as if he’s part of their family, the kind he would like to have. The teacher is hooked reading the stories, and encourages more writing, thus requiring more visits, trying to get him to improve his writing technique. The student along the way gains a crush for the classmate’s mother. One of the keys to the effectiveness of the film is a woman played by the actress Kristin Scott Thomas, the wife of the teacher. She observes and comments interestingly on this situation, for which her sole connection is listening to or reading the stories the kid has written. She too wants to see more, but also seems to be with the distance she maintains the most sensible one; though she’s not beyond certain judgements. In essence she looks at the unreasonableness of both her husband and a student in their actions much as the audience does.
If it seems a little complicated don’t worry: explaining the entire premise of the film is much more exhausting than watching it occur. It’s entertaining, equal parts funny and dramatic, how it all plays out. In the House is an original film, and while it does have a premise that slightly stretches plausibility, and a few minor issues hamper it’s ending, it will make one think and reexamine many parts and allow one the experience that makes its flaws more forgivable.… Expand
Apr 24, 2013Haven’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 bringsHaven’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.… Collapse
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.