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House of D [Import]

David Duchovny , Téa Leoni , David Duchovny    PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)   DVD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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House of D is a bittersweet, moving story of an American expatriate's painful decision to come to terms with the childhood he fled in early 1970s New York City. David Duchovny wrote and directed this comedy-drama; he also stars as the adult version of the film's hero, Tom Warshaw, an illustrator who has spent most of his life in Paris and decides—on the occasion of his son's birthday—to finally reveal long-withheld facts about his past.

The bulk of the story, told in flashback, portrays 13-year-old Tom (Anton Yelchin) as a quick-witted prince of his neighborhood, a delivery boy who knows every eccentric on his bicycle route and a Catholic school kid fond of playing pranks on his clueless French teacher and soulful principal (Frank Langella). His best friend is the school's mildly retarded, 41-year-old janitor, Pappas (Robin Williams), and his advisor on matters of the heart is Lady (Erykah Badu), a prison inmate whom the fatherless Tom (or Tommy, as he's called in 1973) can neither see nor touch. Tommy's vivacity is an asset at home, where his mother (Tea Leoni), a grieving widow with a mounting addiction to pills, is slipping away from her son's ability to help. Duchovny's screenplay sometimes borders on the precious: A number of scenes are enamored with their own boldness and originality, as if Duchovny has been squirreling away lots of colorfully expressive storytelling details for years, and unloaded them here. But that flaw all but disappears in the glow of House of D's emotional resonance and honesty, not to mention several exceptional performances. Among these is Zelda Williams's work as Tommy's sage-beyond-her-years girlfriend, Melissa, whose name offers a suitable excuse to work a rather lovely Allman Brothers song into the soundtrack. --Tom Keogh


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't believe the critics Dec 6 2006
Format:DVD
I watched a borrowed copy of this film last night, despite having an old negative impression of David Duchovny from a few involuntarily watched "X Files" episodes. However, I was pleasantly surprised, from the story to the acting, to the music. It's a comedy tear-jerker, and the transition from humor to despair is effectively done, without being maudlin or devolving into slapstick. And yet it seems critics from the NY Times, the Village Voice, About.com etc., snottily dismissed it as a trite, sentimental, indeed totally unwatchable film. Now that really amazed me. But perhaps it shouldn't have, as I recently gagged my way through the clumsily done "Indian Summer" (2002) which Siskel and Ebert rated two thumbs up. You can't always trust the critics.

While I agree a weak spot in the film is Pappass (a retarded man played by Robin Williams) saying things, particularly at the end, which exceed the level of intellect his character previously displays, that fault is neither major nor does it detract from the humanity which is at the core of this story. We are sometimes asked to suspend disbelief, and this movie is no exception. Tommy, the 13 year old budding artist, flees NYC and winds up in Paris, sleeping on the streets until he somehow finds a job in design. We must assume he had a passport and very good luck to do this, but that's not really what the story is about. Most of the film, a flashback by the older Tom to his stormy adolescence in NYC, is perfectly believable, very funny, and very touching. Anton Yelchin, who plays young Tommy, is superb in portraying a kid who is dealing with the death of his father, his mother's use of sedatives to cope with her loss, and his emerging sexuality and social awkwardness.
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Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  71 reviews
33 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Clever, fitting, heartwarming.... Oct. 10 2005
By Jarrod T Thompson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
David Duchovny does a fantastic job of creating a picture of a boy's childhood(Tom) with an addicted mother who is in need of parenting from her son and who is not capable of being the mother he so desperately needs. The humor of being thirteen and the jokes we have all told are caught in the most appropriate of depictions. This story is a wonderful Bildungsroman that creates a realistic and fun view of Thomas as a young boy becoming a man and growing apart from his retarded friend(Pappas) by becoming an older mental age than Pappas can ever be.

The life journey of Thomas is interesting, sad, funny and heartwarming all at once.

Those who are so critical of Duchovny and this film had expectations that were too lofty for anyone to live up to. I have different expectations when I go the movies. I am not there to give amateur critiques of the directing and script. I am there to watch and hopefully be entertained, and this film does not disappoint. Duchovny is subtly funny bordering on hilarious. The depiction of the thirteen-year-old boy in his private school French class is a scene that I will be laughing about forEVER.

This movie is well worth its price. Great Job David Duchovny!
20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I haven't given many 5 star movie reviews lately Jan. 23 2006
By Theresa W - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
The last few years I've been searching for good movies. I rent quite often, go to the movies occasionally and I am usually disappointed. I wasn't expecting too much with House of D, not having heard much about it prior to my renting it. However, I was pleasantly surprised; I thoroughly enjoyed the movie. So much so, I am considering buying it for my collection, a privilege.

The story was written and directed by David Duchovny. It's about Tom, who is looking back at the life he had as a young boy growing up in New York City during the 1970's. His father is dead, his mother (Tea Leoni) is mixing pain medicine with alcohol and cigarettes and he is trying to deal with adolescence. His best friend is a 40 year old mentally retarded man named Pappas, played by Robin Williams. We watch as Tom struggles to make a move on the girl he has a crush on, manage his rocky home life with part time work and private school. He often gets his advice and guidance from teachers at school, his boss and from a lady he has strangely befriended that is in a detention home. His journey is filled with events take place that are beyond his control and will alter his life forever.

What I look for in a movie: To wrap me up in the story, so that I forget all else going on (I don't want to be thinking about what I'm doing later, or looking at my clock the whole time). To evoke emotion- laughter, tears, frustration etc. To have a bit of a lesson. To really enjoy the characters and story. A few surprises, I don't like cookie-cutter movies. A good conclusion that I feel is satisfying and wraps up the story.

This movie did all of that for me. House of D was written and directed, in my opinion, very well. I found myself caught up in the movie only 5 minutes in. I fell in love with the characters, who I felt were quite unique, even to the point of surprise at times with what they would do. Naturally, this story did touch me; I laughed a few times and felt tears welling up several times. The story itself is one someone can argue- "what was the point?" However, I have found there are rare movies, where maybe the point isn't clear, however, the story it tells is good anyway. This is kind of a coming of age story mixed with a story of hard lessons life throws your way, put together with the story of an adult finally taking a look at his life and making some changes. At the end of the movie, I enjoyed the journey and was happy with where it ended up.

I think a lot of us have had our own hardships. I'm sure most of us have struggled with finding our place in this world, our path in life. That is what this movie is about. It's about finding hope at the end of the day and having the courage to take the journey. I would recommend this movie to anyone who is willing to give a unique movie a chance. Keep in mind, this is drama, not action or adventure.
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A warm, soulful and funny film May 8 2005
By Mainelady - Published on Amazon.com
Having just returned from seeing House of D for the 3rd time, I'm writing this review to share my thoughts on it. Is it Casablanca or It's A Wonderful Life? No, not many movies are, particularly these days. House of D is a small but moving film, beautifully filmed and acted, I maintain. With progressive viewings, I found myself remembering more of my own experiences 'coming of age' which gave me even more admiration for Mr. Duchovny's skill in writing this movie believably. Don't get me wrong, it's a small, independent film. Too bad for Hollywood, because it's sweet, funny, thoughtful and soulful. No car chases, disemboweled bad guys, cynical protagonists or sex. No wonder no big company would touch it!

Anton Yelchin and Tea Leoni portray their characters wonderfully. Robin Williams is believable as only he can be and his daughter, Zelda, is spot on.

I believe Mr. Duchovny's direction is good, and I look forward to bigger endeavors in the future, both in front of and behind the cameras.

Go see it. Decide for yourself. I'm very happy I did, and I think you will be too.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Give me the Dad face Oct. 21 2005
By Matt - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
This story had ecsaped my attention until recently. I rented it, thinking it had to be decent, given the casting. I was pleasantly surprised upon viewing.

The story is relatable and moving. Anton Yelchin gives a stirring performance as a child dealt a difficult hand, struggling to make his own way. Tea Leoni plays very well the role of a distraught, widowed mother who has been left to care for her son. I feel the role of Pappas (played by Robin Williams) could have been slightly more developed, but he turns in a wonderful performance. David Duchovny wrote and directed the movie, as well as acted as the present day version of the main character.

It's not the most engaging movie, but it is interesting. It has its moments of humor, sadness and happiness. Altogether a good effort by Duchovny.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very good film... May 7 2005
By Gina K - Published on Amazon.com
I really enjoyed "House of D". The story is touching, the actors are wonderful, the music really rocks. I have seen this movie 3 times and I wanted to go see it again, but it has been pulled from the theaters around my home. To me this is an injustice to the film. Not everyone has the same opinion of films, or music, etc., but to not give a larger group the opportunity to see this film is not fair. My opinion is that the movie is well made, and the story is very solid. Growing up in the late 60's early 70's, many of the scenes were very reminiscent of my youth (re: the dance). The emotions shown by Anton Yelchin were acted out very well, and Robin Williams had many fine moments as Pappass. All in all, I would recommend this film...see it and form your own opinion.
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