The Keys to the House


Generally favorable reviews - based on 13 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 13
  2. Negative: 0 out of 13

Where To Watch

Buy On

Critic Reviews

  1. Outstanding, entirely unique father-son portrait.
  2. Though "Keys" is not Amelio's best, it has an emotional power almost equal to anything he's done.
  3. Reviewed by: Kim Morgan
    There is nothing obvious about this subtle yet powerfully subversive look into the emotional toll and confusion of dealing with a disabled child.
  4. Reviewed by: Deborah Young
    Radiates a warm humanity and uplifts the spirit. Subtle rather than sentimental, it lacks easy tears though attentive viewers will find it lacerating enough.
  5. Though it is a work of fiction, we have the sense every minute that we are watching something real, something with the unmistakable taste of life.
  6. 80
    Rossi (who is handicapped himself) gives the film a magnetic presence, playing the part as a mix of sweet-natured good intentions and frustrating limitations.
  7. 75
    Kim Rossi Stuart gives an excellent performance.
  8. 70
    If the film's redemptive ending is a fairy tale, it's one we willingly embrace.
  9. The kind of quietly unassuming tear-jerker that works its way into your heart despite the occasional cries of protest emanating from your head.
  10. Wall Street Journal
    Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    An unusual amalgam of formulaic feel-goodism and shocking tough-mindedness, a movie that allows us to decode the inner life of its hero while he's decoding the world around him.
  11. 70
    Even more astonishing that the superb acting is the simple fact that director Gianni Amelio has managed to craft a touching tale of a father reunited with his disabled son without the slightest whiff of sentimentality.
  12. Both Rossi and Charlotte Rampling, as the mother of another young patient, do fine work. But the only surprises come at the end, too late to move us the way they should.
  13. 60
    The drama is hampered by a vague screenplay that takes its sweet time explaining the characters' past and never specifies the nature of the boy's palsy and apparent retardation.

Awards & Rankings

User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 5 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 1
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 1
  3. Negative: 0 out of 1
  1. DanielW.
    Jul 21, 2006
    A superb blend of poignant with authentic. Throughout the film, I found myself trying to determine whether or not Paolo was truly handicapped A superb blend of poignant with authentic. Throughout the film, I found myself trying to determine whether or not Paolo was truly handicapped or merely a wonderful actor (both being proven true), and (due to a common surname) wondering if Kim Rossi Stuart was indeed Paolo's real-life father (only pleasantly surprised to discover he was merely an actor). This film is not for the fainthearted or pursuers of maudlin sentimentality. Here is a reasonably hard-hitting film that bestows dignity to all families which must contend with lifelong (and often debilitating) disabilities. Full Review »