Sigourney Weaver wins you over through her highs (Kevin Kline) and lows (drinking).
Husband-and-wife filmmakers Wallace Wolodarsky and Maya Forbes (both behind “Infinitely Polar Bear”) guide Sigourney Weaver in one of her best performances as a woman with problems that can’t hide themselves from the audience. And she has some support from Kevin Kline, who adds some humanity in their chemistry, especially when they started off as old lovers who went their separate ways.
But this isn’t the Weaver/Kline romcom the poster and trailer were promoting, although they have their moments. It’s more about the problems in the woman’s life, as she tries to overcome them.
Weaver plays a New England realtor named Hildy Good, who returns from rehab due to her alcoholism. She’s spends her time getting potential buyers for new homes, while breaking the fourth wall-talking to the audience about her life, her family, how she views alcoholism, how she can do some palm readings, and how she dated the former soldier Frank Getchell (Kline) before marrying Scott (David Rasche), who turned out to be gay.
She still drinks her red wine at night, and says: “In my mind, somehow, wine is not really drinking; vodka definitely is.” That’s when she sneaks some in her non-alcoholic Bloody Mary at Thanksgiving. In her defense, her own mother was far worse than she is.
She’s not afraid to speak to the audience, and no one thinks she’s crazy. They’re not supposed to think that, because they can’t see that she is. At times, its whimsical, and at other times, it’s complex. It all depends on how she presents the levity and pathos in her life.
- Her best friend and wine buddy is a painter named Rebecca McAllister (Morena Baccarin), who feels so lonely while her workaholic husband (Kelly AuCoin) is in Boston, that she has an affair with her psychiatrist Peter Newbold (Rob Delaney).
- And that same psychiatrist may have a job offer in San Francisco.
- She deals with a rival realtor named Wendy (Kathryn Erbe), who stole her clients, and acts all snooty around her.
- She even goes back to dating Frank, who runs a successful maintenance company that deals with garbage.
“The Good House” is based on Ann Leary’s novel, with the screenplay done by Wolodarksy, Forbes, and Thomas Bezucha (“Let Him Go”). It’s a dramedy that threatens an alcoholic with some consequences and how life took a toll on her. Weaver eases into her character and draws attention to the life she’s had, and how she handles it. And Kline does a fine, sentimental job trying to be her voice of reasoning, especially during a flashback when she nearly has an affair with him. He handled that situation quite well for her sake.
The movie doesn’t have much basis about some of the supporting characters, like Hildy’s two daughters-young mother Tess (Rebecca Henderson) and would-be artist Emily (Molly Brown)-and parts of the screenplay are a little confusing. It’s far from a perfect movie, but there is humanity inside to keep us involved with the main character. It’s more patient in how she admits to the audience her condition and reasons.
Everything has a chain of reactions. One thing leads to another, and how Hildy transcends with her own problems can either be serious or funny. You decide.