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Worth A Look: 23.4%
Just Average: 14.89%
Pretty Crappy: 4.26%
Sucks: 4.26%

6 reviews, 58 user ratings

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House of Sand and Fog
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by Elaine Perrone

"A tragedy of Shakespearean proportions."
5 stars

House of Sand and Fog is a modern-day tragedy, as gripping as any Shakespearean drama, as heartbreaking as any Verdian opera.

Jennifer Connelly is Kathy Lazaro, a recovering addict who becomes homeless due to a bureaucratic error on the part of the San Francisco County tax assessor's office. Ben Kingsley is the proud Colonel Massoud Amir Behrani, who, with his family has fled Iran under the regime of the Ayatollah, and who buys Kathy's house at auction then refuses to sell it back to the county for less than four times his purchase price. Ron Eldard is Lester Burdon, the married cop with a hair-trigger temper, with whom Kathy becomes involved and who tries to help her recover her home. Instead, he brings ruination on the lives of three families, including his own. All three actors are superb, and perfectly cast, as basically decent but stubborn people behaving stupidly and wrong-headedly.

Perhaps the most heartbreaking character of all is Colonel Behrani's gentle wife Nadi (Shohreh Aghdashloo, in an achingly beautiful performance), whose entire being has been subjugated to the will of her martinet of a husband. Grieving the loss of her home in Tehran and the life of privilege she and her family enjoyed during the years the Colonel served under the Shah, Nadi is uprooted time and again by her husband who promises her the same affluence in America but who can find work only as a day laborer or convenience store clerk. Behrani himself carries on a bit of a double life in order to keep up the appearance of wealth, putting on a sumptuous wedding for his daughter, and stopping at a hotel each day en route home from his job on a construction crew to change from work clothes to a business suit. Still, he constantly berates Nadi for the amount of money she spends making a lovely home for him and their son, and strikes her when she dares to utter a word of complaint. Thrown into the middle of the volatile confrontation between her husband and Kathy, over which she has no control and doesn't even quite understand, her confliction is plainly reflected in her sad eyes -- wanting to believe and stand by her husband, but also feeling a strong need to help the lost young woman who shows up on her doorstep.

Also a star is the atmospheric cinematography of DP Roger Deakins. By turns majestic, haunting, and menacing, his camera perfectly captures the awesome, and ominous, splendor of the Bay Area.

Written and directed by Vadim Perelman, House of Sand and Fog stays true to the wonderful source novel written by Andre Dubus III.

There isn't a false note here, and even knowing the outcome, I found myself more than once with knots in my stomach and tears in my eyes. Kingsley and Aghdashloo received well-deserved Oscar nominations for their performances. Connelly should have.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=8407&reviewer=376
originally posted: 07/18/04 21:47:52
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User Comments

1/13/09 Shaun Wallner Friiggin Awesome!! 5 stars
10/23/07 R.W. Welch Sort of a neo-Shakespearean tragedy with upper case acting and cinematography. 4 stars
4/08/07 Adam J.Connelly walking around in a T-shirt alone is worth the rental! 5 stars
11/10/06 David Pollastrini not great, not terrible 3 stars
9/15/06 Brian O'Neill Watched the DVD then curled up and cried for 30 minutes. It's amazing, but hard to watch. 5 stars
8/18/06 Zaw Good but Extremely Slow! 5 stars
5/30/06 stephanie willis Ben Kingsley, at his finest 4 stars
4/02/06 Jamie Jennifer Connelly is the epitome of lust....good movie, but weird esp the ending 4 stars
11/26/05 cr a wonderful story of a family, a girl, and a house, it scenes just pull you in, sad 4 stars
10/18/05 Douglas Reese 2003's Best Film! An absolute triumph in every which way! Extraordinary movie! 5 stars
8/16/05 John greek tragedis deal in archtypes - this pretends to have real charcacters - 1 stars
8/01/05 Indrid Cold Yeah it's just like a Greek tragedy, but Greek tragedies are overblown and stilted. 3 stars
6/27/05 dan pretty deppressing but connelly is so hot 4 stars
6/20/05 Bob Johnson Great! 5 stars
6/12/05 lindy03 Excellent! Well-played Greek tragedy. 5 stars
6/03/05 Simon ONe of the most well-done, no-nonsense pure dramas to come out in a long time. 4 stars
3/24/05 Paul Jennifer Connelly is perfect. Great movie. 5 stars
3/11/05 jeff darryl u r just too dumb to understand this movie. 5 stars
2/20/05 Darryl Boring. Didn't pick up until then kid got shot and I found myself cheering! 2 stars
1/09/05 chris. my god. don't let your depressed teen see this-i'd have killed myself 4 stars
1/06/05 temy Like an ancient Greek tragedy 5 stars
12/09/04 Landshark obscure, opaque, brooding...never gets candyassed. bonus for Iran immersion---Secret Ballot 5 stars
12/08/04 Shanelle it was sooooo good i felt i was watching real life instead of a movie 5 stars
11/15/04 Raymond Shaw Jennifer Connoly's standard one note performance can't ruin this Ben Kingsley masterpiece. 5 stars
11/02/04 Stevo Well acted. Well told story. Just depressing. Gotta be in the mood. 4 stars
10/25/04 Mahsa great film 5 stars
7/25/04 Brian Murray Just a series of depressing events. By the time the kid dies it was funny. 1 stars
7/22/04 Karen McAninley the movie succeeding in making me feel hopeless, full of despair and depressed. 1 stars
7/19/04 Marco Zierl completely boring and over-dramatized 2 stars
7/08/04 Phil M. Aficionado The plot takes some ill-conceived twists toward the end, but very strong cast & film anyway 4 stars
6/20/04 Emperor's New Clothes? Nope. Just a Fat, Ugly, Naked, Guy. Beatiful and delicate, these actors deliver with the most heartbreaking finesse 5 stars
5/23/04 Butterbean Kingsly was fantastic as usual. I really hated that ending. 4 stars
4/07/04 Jenny Tullwartz Intresting start but all characters but colonel's son make you care less and less bout them 2 stars
4/01/04 jj a tragedy,full of emotion with superb acting! 5 stars
4/01/04 Albie The best film I saw at the theater in 2003 5 stars
3/19/04 kari dennis great movie 5 stars
3/14/04 ownerofdajoint kinksley is incredible.....don't miss this movie... 5 stars
3/05/04 Raymund One of the Best Drama I've Ever Watched! 5 stars
3/02/04 Chloe Brody How amazing... 5 stars
2/28/04 john enjoyed 4 stars
2/26/04 Troy Butler 4.5 stars, ... beautiful performances all round, ... extremely powerful!!! 5 stars
2/15/04 john bale Heartwrenching performance by Kingsley in this finely crafted and powerful movie 5 stars
2/06/04 Jenny Tullwartz Intresting start but all characters but colonel's son make you care less and less bout them 2 stars
1/29/04 Nancy An amazing film that left me stunned 5 stars
1/29/04 Marce unexpected in its originality and power. Really cool, dude ;) 4 stars
1/20/04 smartmusician Incredible. Excellent interpretation of Andre Dubus III's book. Incredible acting!! 5 stars
1/20/04 Contracts Wonk It was the FATHER who wrote the novel on which In the Bedroom is based. 4 stars
1/20/04 Steve Thought provoking... Your emotions change throughout 5 stars
1/18/04 p alexander terrible and racially offensive 1 stars
1/14/04 Betty White Powerhouse performances all-around and top-notch production values. 5 stars
1/12/04 Happy Hour Like a damp, foggy day, this movie gets beneth your skin and chills you. 5 stars
1/12/04 Farhad Milani very deep subject, worthy of hours of discussion 5 stars
1/04/04 breadman Ben Kingsley on the floor pleading to God, tough to watch...as I've been there. 4 stars
1/02/04 Sara Finally, a movie showing the truth. 5 stars
1/01/04 Billy Jennifer Connely is a dipiction of brilliance. This Film belongs to her. 5 stars
12/31/03 Mo O'Toole excellent 5 stars
12/29/03 Phil Taylor Powerful performances by Kingsley and Connelly, somewhat overbearing emotional tone 4 stars
12/27/03 Earl Kanter Very Disturbing to see the woman and sheriff involved in a situation that mature individual 4 stars
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  19-Dec-2003 (R)
  DVD: 30-Mar-2004



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