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House of D House of D

Starring Anton Yelchin, Robin Williams, Tea Leone, Erykah Badu, Zelda Williams and David Duchovny
Directed/written by: David Duchovny
David Duchovny Interview

 

Bluntly speaking? House of D trips the light fantastic; a time piece film that manages to capture that odd, inevidable, cusp of adulthood we've all had, or will experience; the monumental peer-pressure events that now seem minuscule, the development of thoughts outside your inner-circle, and coping with life's sometimes tough truths.

This is actor David Duchovny's film; he wrote, directed and has a supporting role; and he's created a touching film that is remarkable on many levels.…But it is fourteen year old (at the time of filming), Anton Yelchin, aside Robin Williams, that truly makes an already wonderfully written, often funny, always warm, ode to maturing spectacular.

Story goes…Tommy Warshaw (David Duchovny) is an American living in Paris. He's just arrived home - late - for his young son's birthday. As his wife screams French profanities at the scalawag out the courtyard window, Tommy slips into his memory. We head back with him, to the roots of his disattached affections….

It's now the 1970's and Tommy (Anton Yelchin), all of fourteen, is enjoying his life in Greenwich Village New York. His mom (Tea Leone) and himself live in cramped cozy shadow-filled apartment. The two recently lost husband and father, and the sadness is stamped, like a sailor's tattoo, upon his mother's once beautiful spirit.

Tommy's closest friend is his boy's school janitor, Pappass (Robin Williams). Pappass is a "retarded" man with the heart and mind of a ten year old, and the man-look of his forty years.

The two run errands for a David Lynch-like Butcher Shoppe couple, and hope to one day save up enough for this cool bike they continually pass in the window…ah, childhood goals.

They hide their tip money, from their deliveries, beneath the sullen window of The House of D. The detention center for women, right smack in the middle of the city.

One of the ladies (Erykah Badu) notices their shenanigans and engages Tommy. The two start to chat on a regular basis. Tommy seems to feel secure in confiding in "the lady" because she can't really get out, she can't even see him properly through her tiny jail window; it's like some form of peep show styled therapy.

Meanwhile, Tommy already faced with his inevitable growing up, is now thrust into events that will change his life forever. He meets a girl named Melissa (Zelda Williams). She's beautiful and sweet. He is starting to like girls. His beloved Pappass is having a hard time with Tommy's amorous awakenings. He wigs out and sets into motion a catastrophic series of unfortunate events. Ironically, the one person in Tommy's small world that will guide him, is the last person you'd think one would get life changing advice from...

The film's middle is its heart, and breadth, thanks to the completely believable friendship between Anton (young Tommy) and Robin Williams. The two actors waltz around the screen so comfortably, it's as if we're watching 16mm footage found inside the garage of dear friends. This Anton Yelchin puppy is a sturdy and remarkable find. His talent is well beyond his years. Robin Williams is completely in touch with his "inner child" and a phenomenal actor - he gives the mentally handicapped Pappass layers of sweetness and underlying strength; it's a grand performance. Tea Leone, as the sinking mother, is going to tie-your-tummy in knots. She's wonderful.

The details bring the 70's vividly to life - you are transported, not just by a very cool soundtrack (which includes a rendition of 'Melissa' by Erykah Badu), but by the cinematography, ambiance and delightful set production.

Writer director David Duchovny has created a helluva film here. I'm not so hip to the film's saccharin ending - but the rest of the film with Williams and Yelchin (the non-in France elder Tommy family frames, with Duchovny's strange droll voice narrating) are simply great film making. If he keeps this ability to truly capture time and feeling on film? You'll be able to file him with the great auteurs shortly. Enjoy.

Snack recommendation: Fresh ground beef - delivered.

 

 


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