“The Good House” is based on the 2013 Ann Leary novel of the same name. It’s directed by the husband-and-wife team, Maya Forbes and Wallace Wolodarsky. They’ve written comedic television and movies such as “Seeing Other People” and “The Rocker” but can they take this romantic drama head on and be successful?
A third writer by the name of Thomas Bezucha was on the project, as well. All three hope to achieve a win for us. Bezucha wrote and directed “The Family Stone,” an intensely dramatic film. It’s an extraordinary story with beautiful characters attached. What I’m saying by adding this information is that they’re in good company with him attached.
We’re first introduced to Hildy Good (Weaver), a New England realtor (Nova Scotia standing in for Wendover, Massachusetts) who just so happens to also be a descendant of Sarah Good, a Salem witch. Voiceover is used to welcome us into her life, and Hildy breaks the fourth wall every now and again. Is she a witch also? This is suggested in the film. Back in the day, people were horrible to her “clan.” Speaking of witches, perhaps it’s these relationships or people knowing about that attachment that leads Hildy to drink. It can provide for a convenient excuse for her misery anyway. She blames everything else.
Hildy’s bitter and angry. With what society has done to her, she deserves a little drink. She claims she’s not a drunk because they drink before five and she never does that. No big deal to have a little wine now and again, right? She also says that her mom was the drunk. We should have seen her mom in action. She was a wicked drunk. With Hildy, it’s always someone else, never her. It’s your problem, not hers.
After a stint in rehab (her children sent her there), Hildy’s career hasn’t been going so well. Wendy (Kathryn Erbe), once her pupil and now the professor, has a handle on the listings, leaving no chance for Hildy to climb back into the market full steam. Hildy is no longer married to Scott (David Rasche), who left her for another man. When they ended things, she was making plenty of money. So, she ended up paying alimony to him.
This went on for what felt like ages. Hildy’s loss in the divorce and her slipping sales are hurting her pocketbook. She’s also being left with her pride in anguish.
The emptiness haunts her and she’s often found talking to herself. It’s a loving relationship she can count on. Her family loves and cares for her enough to stage an intervention. What she has done to them while drunk has embarrassed them beyond what she could imagine. But still, she denies she has ever had a problem. They just have a problem with her. Things get worse for her, not better when she attempts to start a romance with Frank (Kevin Kline), her old friend. Being a sanitation worker is good business, but complaints about his smell exist.
That notwithstanding, he makes sure Wendover stays beautiful which is very much appreciated. However, he can’t do much about Hildy’s terrible problem. He wants her to care for herself before he gets too involved, as he had a long time ago. One can overlook anything to restore a life burning out before its time, but does she have what it takes to interest Frank enough for him to try?
Another question, will this love story interest you? It bumbles and stumbles as it attempts to put a new spin on the battle against addiction and the rekindling of old relationships. It accomplishes these things, but not always in a captivating way. The story is about a woman with a severe drinking problem. She shows definite signs of an illness requiring attention but doesn’t seem to care about herself. She takes so little seriously that nothing’s more important to her than having just one more sip. Sadly, how this is told isn’t as alluring as it could have been. Its approach is underwhelming, steering the wheel all over the road. A shock from this writing team.
The acting is good, the script works on occasion, but overall, the good is more on track with the bad. I do offer this. If you’re looking more for a Movie of the Week type picture, you’ve got it here.
The Good House
Directed by: Maya Forbes and Wally Wolodarsky
Written by: Thomas Bezucha and Maya Forbes & Wally Wolodarsky
*Based on the best-selling novel by Ann Leary
Starring: Sigourney Weaver, Kevin Kline, Morena Baccarin, David Rasche and Rob Delaney
Runtime: 1h 54m
Genres: Romance, Comedy, Drama
Distributed by: Lionsgate/Roadside Attractions