THE GOOD HOUSE | ©2022 Lionsgate

THE GOOD HOUSE | ©2022 Lionsgate

Rating: R
Stars: Sigourney Weaver, Kevin Kline, Morena Baccarin, Rob Delaney, David Rasche, Beverly D’Angelo, Paul Guilfoyle, Kathryn Erbe, Kelly AuCoin, Georgia Lyman, Rebecca Henderson, Molly Brown
Writers: Thomas Bezucha and Maya Forbes & Wally Wolodarsky, based on the novel by Ann Leary
Directors: Maya Forbes & Wally Wolodarsky
Distributor: Lionsgate/Roadside Attractions
Release Date: September 30, 2022

THE GOOD HOUSE is set (mostly) in the present, but it feels like a whole lot of other literary adaptations, especially from the ‘70s and ‘80s.

Indeed, THE GOOD HOUSE has been adapted from Ann Leary’s novel by the film’s directors, Maya Forbes & Wally Wolodarsky, who wrote the screenplay along with Thomas Bezucha. It has a lightly folksy feel, great Atlantic coastal scenery, and a terrific star turn by Sigourney Weaver.

Weaver plays Hildy Good, a realtor in the upscale, quaint New England village of Wendover, Massachusetts. Hildy’s family has lived in Wendover for almost three hundred years. Her ancestor, Sarah Good, was one of the first women tried in Salem as a witch.

There’s a slight sense of magic to Hildy, who can know things about another person just by hovering her hand over theirs. Then again, Hildy’s profession has taught her to read other people pretty well in any case.

Hildy is divorced. Her older daughter Tess (Rebecca Henderson) is contentedly married and lives in town with her husband and little son; younger daughter Emily (Molly Brown) is a struggling artist, living – with Hildy’s financial assistance – in Brooklyn.

Outwardly, things seem to be going well. Even when Hildy confides to us, breaking the fourth wall, she puts up a chipper front. But she has problems. A big one is that her ex-employee, Wendy, has stolen a lot of Hildy’s real estate clients.

But a bigger one, which Hildy won’t acknowledge to herself, is her secret drinking. Hildy’s daughters and ex-husband (David Rasche) staged an intervention and sent her to rehab; they think she’s living sober.

A mercurial newcomer to the area, artist Rebecca (Morena Baccarin), befriends Hildy. Then there’s the matter of contractor Frank Getchell (Kevin Kline), Hildy’s old flame from high school, still in town.

All of this provides enough comedic and dramatic material to keep us gently engaged. This is at least partly because Weaver is such good company; we like hanging out with her Hildy. This is partly because the writing never puts malice into Hildy’s frustration, and even more because Weaver gives Hildy such wit and awareness. Weaver makes it clear that Hildy knows, underneath her denial, that something is wrong with her drinking; she just can’t get past the need to make herself feel better in the moment.

The filmmakers are also careful to be proportionate. They, and Hildy, can clearly see that some of the people around her have troubles far greater than hers. The jokes are never hit too hard, which allows them to be humorous, though never hilarious. *Kline is fine in the kind of role no one would ever expect him to play, a salt-of-the-Earth working man, and Baccarin is beguiling and lightly ominous as Rebecca.

THE GOOD HOUSE doesn’t present itself as the hottest property on the market. However, it’s handsome and comfortable, a pleasant place to spend a little under two hours with agreeable company.

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