The Good House, a new movie based on Ann Leary’s bestselling novel, stars Sigourney Weaver and Kevin Kline as former high school sweethearts who rekindle their romance after five decades. Not only are its stars in their 70s; the film’s plot and story show that love isn’t limited to youth. It’s a rare instance of Hollywood putting “mature love” center stage — and one of several reasons we recommend watching this fun film for your next movie night.
A Nuanced Relationship
The chemistry between Weaver and Kline is palpable, which works well for their on-screen relationship. Their characters dated as teens, and though both stayed in their hometown as adults, they’ve adopted very different lifestyles: Hildy is an aggressive real estate agent with a no-nonsense personality, while Frank is a chilled-out jack of all trades. Hildy’s success has changed her — in both good and less good ways — and Frank challenges her to be her true self.
Weaver and Kline play off each other well, and the movie doesn’t resort to clichés about social status, aging, and relationships. “With Kevin, I can go into a scene and let whatever happens happen,” Weaver recently told reporters. “I trust him so completely — almost like a trapeze act. Wherever I went, Kevin would be there.” Their camaraderie comes through in every scene.
Enviable Real Estate
The film is set in a quaint New England town that feels largely untouched by time. Its residents’ way of life, however, is threatened by an increasing number of young, wealthy people moving in. Hildy is a lifelong resident of the area who knows the coastal town and its charming homes like the back of her hand. The picturesque setting provides a beautiful backdrop for Hildy and Frank’s relationship, and Hildy’s house is like a cozy bed and breakfast that makes you feel as if you’re in the movie with her.
The Good House doesn’t shy away from the family issues that arise with aging and having grown-up children out living their own lives. There’s a flashback at the beginning of the movie that shows a family intervention to address Hildy’s drinking. It’s a tough moment that captures a common occurrence — self-medicating with alcohol after the kids leave home in order to feel less lonely. Hildy is also divorced and struggles to connect with her two grown daughters. As Weaver described it, “Her business has been usurped, she feels like her kids have turned on her… If she wants to go home after another long day, take off her shoes, unhook her bra, and open a bottle of Pinot Noir, who are we to begrudge her?”
But that’s just the thing. As with most older and wiser women, aging has freed Hildy to do, say, and be whatever she wants. She’s happy being home with her dogs; she’ll date if she wants and whomever she wants; and if she drinks a glass or four of wine, so be it. But as Hildy’s personal relationships get stronger, her drinking declines. It’s a reminder to us all that love, friends, and family are vital to our wellbeing as we age.
A Great Sense of Humor
“I was excited to be able to tell the story of an older woman from her point of view. When does that happen?” said Weaver. Hildy frequently addresses the camera directly with witty observations about what’s happening, and we empathize with her even as she makes mistakes. We’re encouraged to laugh with Hildy, not at Hildy, and she and Frank get along so well largely because of their shared sense of humor. Both of them have a dry wit that can only be gained through age and experience. It’s a pleasure to watch them joke with each other.
The Good House is now playing in theaters.
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