The Good House @ TIFF

There are times in which an actor’s or actress’s career gets better as they get older. Not often but sometimes. And it is because the roles they get offer or are available to them are richer. They don’t have to rely on looks, etc. Able just to bring characters to the screen. Here is the case for the respected duo of Sigourney Weaver and Kevin Kline. Both are “older” actors and both get to play against type here in Maya Forbes (The Polka King, Infinitely Polar Bear) and Wallace Wolodarsky’s (Seeing Other People) film set in a coastal town in Massachusetts.

Small towns can be quaint or brutal. Often both. Here the town is filled with beautiful coastal shots, lovely houses, picturesque nature, and residents who get into each other’s business. A case of beauty and the beast. You have to take the good with the bad. This film is an often funny and occasionally poignant look at how one woman, who is in her 60s, is handling that.

Though you really could not tell looking in from the outside, Hildy Good’s (Sigourney Weaver – Ghostbusters, Aliens) life is in a bit of a shambles over the past couple of years. Her husband (David Rasche – Men in Black 3, Burn After Reading) left her for a man, her family staged an intervention due to her drinking and she had to go to rehab, under cover of night she is still drinking, her real estate company took a hit when her partner (Kathryn Erbe – from television’s Oz} leaves and takes al the clients with her, and as a result, she is having money problems. Yet she keeps up the pretenses. Still drives a Range Rover and helps her daughters out financially.

Holding things together by a thread, Hildy tries to forge forward with life. Actually, she thinks she is doing a good job. She isn’t. Soon her house of cards is about to come tumbling down.

Based on a novel by Ann Leary, an often attention holding character study which Sigourney Weaver is definitely up to. While narrating her character’s story she is equal parts funny, sarcastic and a mess. It is a great role for the actress. Allows her to show sides of her talent she hasn’t often been able to. Really reminds you how talented the woman is and also allows you to hope that she gets roles like this one more often. Roles that allow her to show that she can do just about any genre.

But how good Weaver is here has allowed the directors to use her like a crutch. So much so that they don’t allow the other actors to help prop up the story. I wanted to see more of David Rasche, Kevin Kline, Morena Baccarin (from television’s The Flash), Rebecca Henderson (from television’s Russian Doll), and Rob Delaney (Deadpool 2, Bombshell). They are all woefully underused. It is like they are not sure how to so they just fall back on keeping the camera on Weaver.

What is good besides Weaver is the on-screen chemistry she shares with Kevin Kline (A Fish Called Wanda, French Kiss). The two have starred together before in the films Dave and The Ice Storm. Seeing them together is like putting on a pair of comfortable shoes. Never a mistake. The two know how to play off each other no matter the type of story they have been tasked with telling. Kline’s Frank Getchell is a wild as Weaver’s Hildy is contained. Opposites attract as well as are fun to watch together in films.

Where the film becomes a little unsettled is the handling of its tones as it switches from humourous to serious. The funny is definitely done better than the serious which feels unrealistic and even forced.

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