Film Review: ‘Another House’

'Another House' Review: Mathieu Roy's Gloomfest

No one is spared grief, guilt or misery in Mathieu Roy's semi-autobiographical gloomfest.

No one is spared grief, guilt or misery in “Another House,” which wallows in existential angst as two grown sons deal with their aged father’s worsening Alzheimer’s disease. Skeletons of old sibling rivalries dryly rattle in their closets while an embittered alcoholic rehashes discontents with his famous, globe-trotting older bro, and Dad dazedly wanders the woods. Despite the obvious sincerity of tyro helmer Mathieu Roy’s semi-autobiographical gloomfest, a standout performance from Marcel Sabourin, and a standing ovation before a sold-out Montreal festival crowd, this “House” will encounter problems leaving home after its October Canadian release.  

As Dad (Sabourin) deteriorates, his sons struggle with their own problems.  Celebrated war correspondent Gabriel (Roy Dupuis) chases danger in Afghanistan and half-heartedly attempts to shore up a failing relationship with too-perceptive Parisian gal pal Charlotte (Julie Gayet).  Grounded pilot-in-training Eric (Emile Proulx-Cloutier) sulks, broods and sabotages his own affair with live-in musician girlfriend Maia (Florence Blain Mbaye), the film’s only truly vibrant character. Though Sabourin’s painfully bewildered octogenarian fully merits the acting prize he won at Montreal, watching him stare uncomprehendingly at his proposed new institutional home, or stagger in circles as he hacks his way through foliage, ultimately proves more exhausting than tragic.

Film Review: 'Another House'

Reviewed at Montreal World Film Festival (competing), Aug. 22, 2013.  Running time: 100 MIN. Original title: "L’autre maison"

Production

(Canada) A TVA Films release of a Max Films production. (International sales: Max Films, Montreal.) Produced by Roger Frappier, Felize Frappier.

Crew

Directed by Mathieu Roy. Screenplay, Roy, Michael Ramsey. Camera (color, widescreen, HD), Steve Asselin; editor, Louis-Martin Paradis; production designer, Mario Hervieux; costume designer, Julia Patkos; sound (Dolby SR), Claude La Haye, Yann Cleary, Bernard Gariepy Strobl; sound designer, Claude Beaugrand; casting, Emanuelle Beaugrand-Champagne, Nathalie Boutrie. 

With

Marcel Sabourin, Roy Dupuis, Emile Proulx-Cloutier, Florence Blain Mbaye, Julie Gayet.

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  1. JJVC says:

    The care of an elderly parent who has dementia brought forward probably the most stressful family dynamic. If there is more than one child in the family, or even just the one child with his/her partner/spouse, the care would be always the most contentious issue. Unfortunately because the movie deals with such a heavy subject, it might be a “gloomfest” as Mr. Scheib described it. But what do you expect? A dementia patient is not going to get better. Currently there is no viable treatment available. Most dementia patients died due to other medical complications, sometimes a few years, sometimes up to decades, depending on how healthy the patients were at the time of diagnosis. There is no light at the end of the tunnel. The care of a dementia patient by one or several family members, would take its incredible toll. The emotional cost is almost impossible to describe unless one was unfortunate enough to experience it in person.

    Without spoiling the movie for others, I would say that the ending was satisfying. For a first time director, Mathieu Roy did a very respectful job. It’s not a perfect movie. There are weak moments. At some places, the plot seemed to drag its feet a bit. However, overall, he has done a very good job with an excellent cast and a great crew. I’m glad I get to see it. I think many more audience would find this movie nicely done.

  2. NormaB says:

    The film I saw was wonderful! Mr. Roy approaches the somber subject matter very thoughtfully and without a heavy hand in dealing with the disease. The film focuses much more on family; the love, conflict and resolution that most of us will probably face regarding the care of an elderly parent or family member. I thought all the actors did a fine job. Ms Blain’s character was vibrant in direct contrast to the brothers who for different reasons carried much heavier emotional burdens, flaws and all. I did not find the film “gloomy” at all, sure there were very sad moments, but also very uplifting and inspiring ones as well. The only tragic thing here, is it feels as if you took the same minimal amount of time and thought in writing this review as you did in appreciating the film.

  3. Elizabeth says:

    Mr.Shieb, I’m appalled by your review of this magnificent film-L’Autre Maison. As someone who has lived through an almost identical situation in my own family..I was so moved and impressed by the expertise in which M.Roy’s fabulous film portrays this very difficult and complex subject. I obviously don’t know if you ever have to live through something like it but if you had…maybe you would understand this film as clearly from your review you do not. The performances by the entire cast were absolutely breathtaking..especially those of M.Sabourin and M.Dupuis. I hope after your fountain of vitriol dries up you’ll take the time to open your mind and watch it again more clearly.

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