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      The House of the Spirits

      R 1993 2h 18m Drama List
      31% Tomatometer 39 Reviews 72% Audience Score 5,000+ Ratings A rancher (Jeremy Irons), his clairvoyant wife (Meryl Streep) and their family face turbulent years in South America. Read More Read Less Watch on Fandango at Home Buy Now

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      The House of the Spirits

      What to Know

      Critics Consensus

      An enviable collection of sterling actors are all woefully miscast in The House of the Spirits, a plodding saga of magical realism that lacks much magic or realism.

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      Critics Reviews

      View All (39) Critics Reviews
      David Ansen Newsweek The greatest actors in the world can't overcome a script that boils everything down to the Esperanto of cliche. May 22, 2018 Full Review Richard Schickel TIME Magazine The thing works in its goofy way, mainly because Bille August is a man of apparently dauntless conviction. He has written and directed every scene with serene authority. May 20, 2013 Full Review Michael Wilmington Chicago Tribune The flaws aren't fatal. The beauty and brilliance that might have been, don't preclude the quality and bravery that exist on the screen. Rated: 2.5/4 May 20, 2013 Full Review Jeff Simon Buffalo News It's artsy polyglot baloney. Not house that's this divided against itself could possibly stand. Rated: 2/5 Feb 29, 2024 Full Review Robin Holabird Robin Holabird Director Bille August creates striking visuals, and her standout cast never fails to hold attention, though it fails to catch Allende's nuance as a writer. Aug 11, 2021 Full Review Malcolm Johnson Hartford Courant Nearly every magic detail, many key characters and half a generation has been sacrificed to clarify the plot. But so much has been cut away that only the skeleton of the story remains. May 22, 2018 Full Review Read all reviews

      Audience Reviews

      View All (355) audience reviews
      Jo W An amazing book bastardized by the movie. Experience cast seems oddly miscasted. Script misses the point of the 'spirits'. The protagonists should have been the females. Rated 1 out of 5 stars 06/20/23 Full Review Alessandro G A summary of a good story does not necessarily make a good film. A wonderful cast forced to follow a cold report concerning the tragic Chilean twentieth century. Rated 2 out of 5 stars 03/08/23 Full Review Steve D A great cast, strange tones and a terrible script. Rated 2 out of 5 stars 02/21/23 Full Review john e Where to start with this one? The House of the Spirits (1994) is a supernatural, political drama, love story, period piece that spans three generations in an unnamed South American country. Is that not enough for you? Well then, let's throw in some class warfare, American wild west type antics, and tits. Plenty of tits. I ask you… does this sound like a film that would feature Academy Award winners Jeremy Irons, Meryl Streep and Vanessa Redgrave… and Academy Award nominees Glenn Close, Antonio Banderas and Winona Ryder? If you said, "no", you would unfortunately be wrong. Let me be clear, the acting by most of the primary cast is truly outstanding, despite the story. Jeremy Irons plays central character Esteban Trueba. He's a man who wishes to marry into a wealthy family and vows to work tirelessly in order to be worthy of Rosa del Valle. Unfortunately, Rosa dies, and Esteban is forced to set out on his own journey of accumulating wealth and power. He is a very unlikable character. In fact, he's loathsome, contemptable and for most of the movie seems to have absolutely no redeeming qualities. Glenn Close is outstanding as Esteban's sister, Ferula, and the fact that she was not nominated for an Oscar for this performance says much more about the film than the actress. Close is heart breaking as an undesirable, single (possibly lesbian) woman living in an era when her worth and employment are completely dependent upon a man (and worse yet a self-serving brother). She eventually becomes a sister-in-law to Clara del Valle (Meryl Streep), when Esteban schemes to marry the younger sister of Rosa, his originally intended bride. Clara has displayed clairvoyant abilities since she was born. As a child she found these abilities to be a burden and eventually would stop speaking of them. She would instead write of her life in journals… journals she would later pass on to her daughter in the hope that they would assist her in navigating her life. Her daughter with Esteban, as an adult, is played by Winona Ryder. Sadly, Ryder's performance is a complete disappointment when compared with the other actors in this celebrity heavy movie. Not once during this film was I able to see the character (Blanca Trueba) instead of the actress, Ryder. Honestly, it's as if Ryder felt a hairstyle and wardrobe change could magically transform her into a character that was rich with possibilities. They didn't. All that aside, Clara eventually tries to tell Blanca that all the vile things that her dad did over the years never came from a place of malice. Huh? At this point in the film it is almost too late to try and redeem Esteban. But the story still attempts to do so. This movie was a disappointment, and proof yet again that a stellar cast cannot save a poorly developed script. If you are a cinephile, this film will excite you. Honestly, it is SO well acted. If, however, you prefer that outstanding acting be accompanied with great story telling… this flick sadly isn't for you. This film never seems to know what message it is trying to convey, despite its stellar cast. Rated 2.5 out of 5 stars 03/31/23 Full Review Audience Member Great drama Beautiful movie Rated 5 out of 5 stars 02/01/21 Full Review Audience Member One of the best movies of all times. 30%? Shame on you Rated 5 out of 5 stars 02/19/23 Full Review Read all reviews
      The House of the Spirits

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      Cast & Crew

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      Movie Info

      Synopsis A rancher (Jeremy Irons), his clairvoyant wife (Meryl Streep) and their family face turbulent years in South America.
      Director
      Bille August
      Producer
      Bernd Eichinger
      Screenwriter
      Bille August
      Production Co
      Lionsgate, House of Spirits Film, Neue Constantin Film, Costa do Castelo Filmes
      Rating
      R
      Genre
      Drama
      Original Language
      English
      Release Date (Streaming)
      Nov 8, 2016
      Runtime
      2h 18m
      Sound Mix
      Surround, Stereo
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