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TIFF 2021: “The Good House”


Rating: 4 out of 5.

Most people on Earth consume alcohol. Some more, some less. One way or another, if it’s not controlled, it will turn into addiction. And that’s not just a problem for the one who gets infected by such a disease. Because the habit can be controlled, but the disease will require more attention if the person who suffers from it feels they require one.

“The Good House” was unexpectedly charming but a very sad portrayal of an alcoholic woman, Hildy Good (Sigourney Weaver) who is in complete denial of her condition. During the day, she is a successful realtor in a little town, well regarded and loved by many. She supports her daughters financially. She is a true hardworking woman. But in the evening, she goes deep into herself and drinks alcohol to the level where she does not remember anything the next day. And all that is just the beginning of the nightmarish life of Hildy, which is not going to be as good as her last name.

Set in a small city, Hildy Good is a proud member of the community, and she eagerly notes that her family lived in the same city for almost 300 years. When a new neighbor, Rebecca (Morena Baccarin) arrives, it seems Hildy finds a new friend, for a change. She can talk to her, give some advice, and be rude sometimes if she wants to. However, there is one person who accepts Hildy the way she is, who can see her faults, talk to her straight, and not be afraid of calling her out when she is heavily drunk – Grank (Kevin Kline). They both romantically being involved does not stop Frank from having a clear head. You will just wish Hildy had the same.

Adapted from Ann Leary’s novel, “The Good House” is a heartwarming but gut-wrenching film about addiction and the hard path towards acceptance. You hear HIldy saying the same thing all over again – “I am fine, I am just fine.” Of course, I am not drinking anymore. Having a sip of drink won’t hurt me.” All those words are that hurt her and her loved ones. But the film was not just made about alcoholism. It tells the story from Hildy’s point of view, in which she continues to communicate with the audience directly, almost like having them invited to her world, when she has closed the same doors to her loved ones.

Well acted, excellent screenplay and marvelous direction provides a sad view into alcoholism. It shows that no one is immune from it and it’s not easy to treat. But the one who abuses alcohol must realize the problem. Cure comes only after acceptance, and that’s the first step towards bettering one’s life. It’s an unusual way of tackling a heavy subject matter, but it’s effective. So be ready to be moved, touched, and cry at the same time. Not because there is a happy ending waiting for you. Not at all. But because of Sigourney Weaver’s portrayal of Hildy Good, and her way of interpretating an eternal issue in the most realistic way that will have your heart racing throughout.

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