But this man who has been foolish enough to build his house on the sand tears it down to rebuild something new -- something he can be proud of. And we watch it happen in his life and the life of his family as the old house is torn down and replaced by the house he has always dreamed of building.


This page was created on November 22, 2001
This page was last updated on
May 21, 2005

Continued on next page


Click to enlargeDirected by Irwin Winkler?
Written by Mark Andrus

Kevin Kline .... George
Kristin Scott Thomas .... Robin
Hayden Christensen .... Sam
Jena Malone .... Alyssa
Mary Steenburgen .... Coleen
Mike Weinberg .... Adam
Scotty Leavenworth .... Ryan
Ian Somerhalder .... Josh
Jamey Sheridan .... Peter
Click to enlargeScott Bakula .... Kurt Walker
Sandra Nelson .... Nurse #1
Sam Robards .... David Dokos
John Pankow .... Bryan Burke

Produced by Rob Cowan (producer), Michael De Luca (executive producer), Brian E. Frankish (executive producer), Lynn Harris (executive producer), Irwin Winkler (producer)
Original music by Mark Isham
Cinematography by Vilmos Zsigmond
Film Editing by Julie Monroe

MPAA Rating R - for language, sexuality and drug use

14 MB
5.8 MB
3 MB

Life as a House:
Original Motion Picture Score
Mark Isham

1. If I Could Kiss You 2. Round Robin 3. Tear It Down 4. Love Is Not Enough 5. I'm Happy Today 6. Leap, A 7. Sunscreen And Bicycles 8. Promise, A 9. Build This House With Me 10. Leap Of Faith 11. Building A Family 12. I'll Take This One 13. I Built Myself A Life
Seen from a distance it's perfect.

"Home is where one starts from."
-T.S. Eliot

Click to enlargeLife as a House is the poignant, often humorous journey of one man who decides to tear down his house and winds up rebuilding the world around him. From the day he picks up his sledgehammer, George Monroe embarks on a grand adventure that will shatter expectations and build a foundation for many different dreams among his family and neighbors.

Click to enlargeAcademy Award-winner Kevin Kline stars as architect George Monroe, who has had a lifelong ambition to achieve one of the great American Dreams: to build his own home, a refuge set on a cliff at the edge of the sea. But it's a dream that George has put off again and again while he's sunk lower and lower ending up divorced, overworked and estranged not only from friends and family, but from himself.

Now George has hit rock bottom and there's nowhere left to go . . . except out onto the edge. At first, his plans seem wild-eyed and crazy. His cul-de-sac neighbors despise his sagging, dilapidated shack. His teen-aged son (Hayden Christensen) would rather stare into space and pop pills than raise a finger to help him. His ex-wife (Kristin Scott Thomas), who once shared his house and his dream, is now emotionally distant from him. Local city officials want to sabotage his plans. It seems there is no one left with any faith in him.

BClick to enlargeut George is determined to build this house even if it means refurbishing his entire life. He begins the project alone, but soon attracts a disparate group of people from the next-door neighbor's sexy young daughter to his ex-wife's kids from a new marriage to his scheme. What begins as a way for George to redeem his own bruised dreams turns into something much bigger than he ever imagined and something far stronger than just a shelter.

Click to enlargeClick to enlargeClick to enlarge

Review By

Pastor, Artesia Christian Church, Artesia, CA

Darrel has an incredible love and interest in the cinematic arts. His reviews usually include independent and significantly important film.

Click to enlargeThe house -- the life -- that he has dreamed of. He gets rid of the old to bring in something new and alive -- even if it is only to be passed on to another. And through the building of this new house and new life, others share in the renewal -- especially his son and ex-wife.

We often come to understand in films with an eschatological element that knowing the end is close and sure helps us to focus on what is important in life. In scripture, when the First Testament prophets spoke of the coming Day of the Lord, they wanted it to seem immediate. In apocalyptic books, the message is that this is happening soon. In Paul's writings the coming of Christ is always something to be expected soon.

The basis of Jesus' preaching was that the Reign of God was at hand. In Life as a House, we see that the end is always close at hand. Sometimes we may be warned that it is coming. Or maybe it will be suddenly. But the end is always at hand, and that end makes clear just how important life is.

In Amazing Grace: A Vocabulary of Faith, Kathleen Norris tells of an acquaintance who had struggled with cancer and its treatment before a remission allowed her to return to teaching and writing.

"When [her department head] said to her, 'We've been through so much in the last few years,' the younger woman nodded, and smiled. 'Yes,' she said, emphatically. 'Yes! And hasn't it been a blessing!'

That's eschatology.

In Life as a House, George and his family are blessed by their living in an eschatological time.

Eschatology -- believing in a future that is life giving -- is not only about death. It is also about play. For in reality, none of us knows what the future holds. So we can choose to imagine it either in nihilistic term.

Jesus concludes the Sermon on the Mount by telling of a wise man and a foolish man. The wise man built a house on a rock, while the foolish man built a house on sand. When storms arose, the house built on the firm foundation stood, while the house on sand was destroyed. Life as a House combines the two men in George Monroe. The house of his life is falling apart. His marriage is gone. His son is in trouble. His job is gone. And the house he lives in is a trashy hovel in the midst of a tony subdivision.

But this man who has been foolish enough to build his house on the sand tears it down to rebuild something new -- something he can be proud of. And we watch it happen in his life and the life of his family as the old house is torn down and replaced by the house he has always dreamed of building.

Continued on next page

Click to enlargeClick to enlargeClick to enlarge
Click to enlargeClick to enlarge
Click to enlargeClick to enlargeClick to enlarge

Life As A House © 2001 New Line Cinema. All Rights Reserved.