TORONTO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 2021 REVIEW! The fun of Sigourney Weaver in directors Wallace Wolodarsky and 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 as one of us. By the way, everything I said about Weaver equally applies 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, “I need a good year,” feeling compelled to pay for her daughter’s college. 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, she 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 (Kline). Hildy’s also competing to be the selling agent of the multi-million dollar home of a potential high-profile client.
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. Hildy’s ex-husband Scott (David Rasche) left her for another man. Her 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.
“…Hildy is coming off a short stint in rehab after a painful intervention with her friends and family.”
The script, by Maya Forbes, Wallace Wolodarsky, and Thomas Bezucha, engagingly tells 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. Weaver absolutely shines as Hildy. A character like Hildy should be and is an easy one for the actor to pull off. Her skills come into play as the role has her frequently break the fourth wall. But the true actress comes out with the subtle reactions to whatever trials and tribulations are thrown at the “I’m not really an alcoholic” Hildy.
Thankfully The Good House is a light drama with sparks of comedy. It’s a character-driven story with an ensemble of veteran character actors. Seeing Kline, I could help but think of the two of them in Dave. 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. Plus, it’s a story about an older woman, which we should all be glad that anyone in Hollywood is willing to produce. It 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."