TORONTO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 2021 REVIEW! The fun of Sigourney Weaver in Maya Forbes’ feature, The Good House, is watching a master actor create an everyday character so believable that she could literally walk into a room and pass off as one of us. By the way, everything I said about Sigourney Weaver can apply to her co-star Kevin Kline as well.
Weaver plays Hildy, a longtime real estate agent living and working in an affluent New England town. Early on, Hildy declares that “I need a good year,” feeling compelled to pay for her daughter’s college and supplementing the income of the other. We also learn that Hildy is coming off a short stint in rehab after a painful intervention with her friends and family.
Hoping to get off onto a fresh start, Hildy needs to sell the home of a young couple moving out of town but can’t do it without the help of former crush and contractor Frank (Kevin Kline). She’s also competing to be the selling agent for a multi-million dollar home of a potential high-profile client.
“…Hildy is coming off a short stint in rehab after a painful intervention with her friends and family.”
The joy of The Good House is the ensemble cast surrounding Weaver. The supporting characters push and pull her, putting stress on her ability to maintain a sober post-rehab life. Her two daughters, Emily and Tess (Molly Brown and Rebecca Henderson), have trust issues with their mother’s drunk past. Ex-husband Scott (David Rasche) left her for another man. Friend Rebecca (Morena Baccarin) is an outsider in the town, and then there’s Peter (Rob Delaney), who runs a therapy practice on the second floor of Hildy’s home.
The Good House is the story of a recovering alcoholic’s journey to her true rock bottom. But, at the same time, it’s a story of an older woman in her 60s—the demographic that Hollywood likes to ignore for “financial” reasons. Sigourney Weaver absolutely shines as Hildy. A character like Hildy should be and is an easy one for Weaver to pull off. Her skills come into play as Hildy frequently breaks the fourth wall and speaks directly to the audience. But the true actress comes out with the subtle reactions to whatever trials and tribulations the story throws at the “I’m not really an alcoholic” Hildy.
Thankfully the story is a light drama with sparks of comedy. It’s a character-driven story with an ensemble of veteran character actors. Seeing Kevin Kline, I could help but think of the two of them in Dave. Swapping favors, maybe? Here the roles are swapped as Kline plays the moral center and unlikely hero to Hildy.
The Good House is simply a fun story to watch and by no means meant to be gut-wrenching drama. Still, it’s also a story about an older woman, which we should all be glad that anyone in Hollywood is willing to produce. The Good House shows that good stories come from all stages of life.
The Good House screened at the 2021 Toronto International Film Festival.
"…shows that good stories come from all stages of life."