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on 8 July 2014
It's like a great Henry James novel - very well observed, slightly dark and morbid - but told with a modern, playful and often funny language. I rate this as François Ozon's best film so far.
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on 29 January 2016
By turns quirky, creepily unsettling and hilarious. Another corker from Fancois Ozon. If you love his movies, you'll love this. If you haven't seen his movies, watch them all now!
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on 15 February 2014
Very quirky French film with English subtitles.
Understated acting from all the cast will having you curling your toes and smiling at the same time.
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on 10 January 2014
It would be difficult to recount the script of this movie without disclosing the full plot. Some may say that the movie is about an adolescent boy's coming of age through a world of fantasy. I found the movie a clever manipulation of how a young person's eyes do not deceive, albeit, their perception could be stated as being immature.
The script is clever and witty surrounding the obsession that a young boy possesses in believing he knows what lies behind the veil of private relationships which he then writes about in a camera verity style. Cleverly, the young boy manages to gain access into people's homes and then describes what suits his own personal viewpoint. In parts the movie descends into an abstract surrealism which is perfectly pitched without one ranting at the director as being a dilettante.
This is an excellent film for a late viewing with a bottle of hooch. It is witty, engaging and objective. I found the ending tragic though I felt it had to end on some note other than a box of Cadbury's Milk Tray.
Unfortunately, the sub-titles are in English only, which is a pity as the French is good and straightforward for learners of the language.
Having spent much time working and living in France one part of the movie struck home when the young boy's literature teacher tries to guide him in writing prose. He states that counterpoint needs to be given to the characters in the young boy's writing (which bizarrely, would then make it fictional). This he recommends by way of undermining positive relationships. I had to smile with irony in that us Brits look for unity and then cry into our beer about not being understood while Les Frogs purposefully debate a personal philosophical viewpoint to the point of estrangement. I am sure we do the same but in a more subtle manner - so subtle that we miss the point altogether. I found many such instances of cultural difference in the movie which bought a wry smile to my being in understanding just how far apart we all are in Europe even though we believe to the contrary.
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VINE VOICEon 15 December 2013
In the House is about a teacher,Germain(Luchini), disillusioned with the bureaucracy, who teaches literature to his French students.He is married to Jeanne(Scott Thomas), who runs a gallery.He is entranced by gifted newcomer,16 year old Claude(Umhauer),who rises to the challenge set by Germain,to "write about what you did last week-end". This is like opening a pandora's box as Claude delivers continuing reports of his schoolfriend's(Rapha's) homelife,into whose house he's gained entry on the basis of helping him with maths.He gives a voyeuristic exposure of the father,Rapha,the mother, Esther(Seigner),and his desire for her underneath the banal life of the household,while seducing the expectant teacher with his talent.The genius of Flaubert hovers over their joint venture,as Germain puts to Claude the question:"Parody or realism?"while giving him extra lessons after school,so that Claude can continue writing his stories,to sustain audience interest Germain repeats"What is going to happen?"Story-telling is the film's structuring device.The film engages the mind rather than heart and has a strong nod to both Henry James(house of fiction)and Hitchcock's voyeuristic idea of the artist-as-spy in Rear Window.We also sense that great Rivette film,Celine and Julie Go Boating(girls get lost in a "house of fiction"). This is a black comedy,cautionary tale and psychological thriller as the childless Germain develops a father/son relationship with Claude,whose emerging talent depends on his only reader's encouragement,editing.

Germain warns Claude against caricature,gossip,art-catologue soft-focus,farce and "Barbara Cartland".The aim is to present things as they really are,plausibility rather than factuality.Claude and his teacher are at times present in the household they are shaping.Claude's writing moves from diary to metafiction;Ozon providing audio-visual rendering of Claude's stories.Photography isn't a truth-teller here but the best liar an illusionist ever had.Claude defends himself against Germain's criticisms, saying "I write what I see",but observations spur his imagination into speculation.The two leads Umhauer and Luchini carry the film,acquiring emotional depth whenthey lose everything,but choose to live in the house of fiction over reality.Scott Thomas is perfect as the shifting, brittle Jeanne,who is bored and embodies attitudes against which her husband can rail.Seigner is brilliant as the sleepy,latent Esther.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 5 April 2013
A jaded teacher of literature is stirred out of boredom by the one piece of written homework that stands out from the rest. He and his wife are intrigued by the boy's account of making friends with a fellow student in order to get inside his comfortable middle-class world, to see what it is like "in the house", "dans la maison". Each episode ends with the tantalising "à suivre", "to be continued...."

Although, like her husband, hooked on the stories, the wife is uneasy about the ethics of all this. Is the boy's objectivity somewhat chilling, his behaviour sinister, or are the accounts even true? An unsuccessful writer himself, the teacher suppresses any doubts in what becomes an obsession to develop the boy's talents as a writer. Does the teacher have other subconscious motives? In the relationship between the teacher and the student, who is being manipulated? A parallel thread is the wife's entertaining attempts to make a success of the avant garde art gallery which she manages.

Well-acted with some original visual techniques and a witty dialogue, this combines comedy, suspense, pathos with a dash of surrealism to create one of the best films I have seen for a while, all the more so for being unexpected.
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on 1 April 2013
This is a strange and unusual film which I greatly enjoyed but also found slightly unsettling. It is marked by some outstanding performances - particularly from Fabrice Luchini and Ernst Umhauer (astonishingly sophisticated performance from a 16 year old!) - also, it goes without saying, Kristin Scott Thomas. Beautifully photographed, well paced, very entertaining.

I am not going to try to summarize the story. I have seen it described as a hilarious comedy - it has some very funny moments but I did not see it that way. Almost a thriller but not really - almost a fantasy but not that either. It is best approached with very little knowledge of what you are about to see which involves shifting realities. I feel a plot summary would significantly reduce your enjoyment!

As so often with Ozon it is one of a kind - and rewarding viewing. I need to see it again but will wait for the DVD.
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on 9 March 2016
Very interesting French film. You never know what is going to happen next.
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on 22 December 2014
absorbing tale,with excellent performances
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on 16 December 2014
An intriguing story exquisitely told.
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