In the House Movie Review
Now playing at SIFF, the French drama In the House (Dans la maison) presents an intriguing story about a teacher who is drawn to the writing abilities of one of his students, who in turn is drawn to the mother of his best friend. Reality and fantasy intertwine until they are indiscernible from one another, the outcome is a largely positive, though hardly lasting, experience.
Based on the play The Boy in the Last Row, In the House is an intriguing film that slowly adds layers and forces its characters down unexpected paths. The movie is well acted by Fabrice Luchini and Ernst Umhauer, with Kristin Scott Thomas also playing a significant role. Young Umhauer is especially good, as he manages to convey the depth of his character while intentionally hiding most emotions.
At times In the House suggests it is going to go down more perilous paths than it actually does, and ultimately that's a disappointment. The fact that Claude (Umhauer) not only convinces Germain (Luchini) to help him cheat but also shows a willingness to manipulate his friend and others to get his way teases at more sinister events than actually do occur. The movie is directed by François Ozon, but things don't spiral out of control like they did in his fabulous film Swimming Pool.
In the House is worth seeing due to its unpredictability and masterful way of blending reality and fantasy so much that even the characters get confused, but don't expect the story to go in some of the dark directions it initially hints at. For this reason, In the House is good but not great, an enjoyable experience but one that will be quickly forgotten.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.