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House of Sand and Fog

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My mom signed up for a complimentary Netflix membership.  Had some trouble with getting the wrong DVD.  But this is one she chose on purpose.

I had misremembered who was in this.  For some reason I thought it was Diane Lane.   But it's really Jennifer Connelly (way pretty.)  And Ben Kingsley, who I did remember.

The plot is that an estranged woman loses her home due to unpaid taxes which she didn't owe.  They imply at the beginning of the movie that her husband left her months ago, and show that she's been hiding it from her framily.  To the point where they're coming to visit in two weeks and she doesn't tell them not to.

The movie actually starts out with an incredibly baroque wedding.  Kingsley's daughter is getting married.  Immediately after, we learn that he's been working menial jobs, and their lifestyle was a sham, to get the girl married into a rich family.   He learns of the government auction of the house and pounces on it.

From the time she's evicted to the time his family moves in is just a few days.   Against her lawyer's advice, she drives by the house.  Kingsley has already hired someone to make renovations.  She freaks and starts harassing the workers.  As she gives up and starts to leave she accidentally injures herself.  (Ow! *cringe*)

When she's evicted we meet the other main character, the deputy.  The love interest.

Having just said that, this is not a standard Hollyweird story.

I guess this was supposed to be a character study.  How a few people deal with a situation that spirals out of control.  But it got out of control mostly because of the actions of the deputy.  If not for him, chances are things would have worked out eventually.  Albeit, Connelly's character would have had to come clean to her family about her marital situation.

The family that bought the house are naturalized citizens, Iranians.  They portray bits of the patriarchial norms in that society.  A couple of times Kingsley loses his temper when questioned by his wife.  And he takes the position, "I've decided, so that's the way things should be."  He refuses to consider alternative points of view.  Until the end of the movie, when he shows a little empathy to Connelly, and recognizes the state of mind of the cop.

I guess these characters are pretty normal people.  But they do some things that I find so fantasy-laden that I find them nearly incomprehensible.  Like, the woman hiding the truth of her huband walking out on her from her family for months.  I can understand a few days.  But eventually a responsible person has to step up and face reality.  Or the love story between the cop and the woman.  Nothing about that situation pointed toward it working.  Yet, in the first days of the relationship, they were making decisions as though it were something more than shared loneliness.   I just find that mind boggling.

None of these are really bad people.  Albeit the cop seems to be itching to go out of control.  Eventually, the characters cross the line and they can't hide it from everyone else.

On my brother's Total Movie Value Scale, Rental with Dinner.  Great actors.   Believable characters.  The situation goes a bit out of control.

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Last modified: September 09, 2006
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