If it hadn't been raining when we came out of the movie theater this afternoon, I might have been looking for someone to hug. Mom and I saw Life As A House, and it had all the emotional impact I was hoping for. I love movies like that, even when they're calculated to make me weep. As far as I'm concerned, that's a filmmaker's job, to make me feel something so strongly I have a physical reaction.
At first, I thought I was going to have a problem with Kevin Kline's character, because his life-altering epiphany happens so early in the film. I was thinking I'd been cheated out of knowing why he'd sunk so low that he needed to be saved, but as things progressed I realized that wasn't the point. The point was that once he had this revelation of the meaning of life (or whatever), he had the wisdom to know what to do about it, and the courage to take action.
Life As A House reminded me a little of Grand Canyon (one of my favorite movies), but on a smaller scale. Instead of a canyon, it's a house that brings people together, characters with different agendas and no particular reason to know each other, except by chance and through the main character. It's definitely Kevin Kline's movie, and he draws everyone to him, both on the screen and in the audience. I know because I heard a lot of people laughing (and crying, audibly) at the same scenes that got to me.
I'm always interested in a story that portrays lives intersecting in quirky and unexpected ways. I also like characters who turn out to be better than anyone (including themselves) think they are capable of being. And although the film insists that love cannot solve all problems, it shows how love can overcome so many obstacles that the problems seem to evaporate. I believe all that stuff, and I'll gladly endorse any movie that believes it, too.