When Fleabag surged to the forefront of the conversation with its edgy fourth-wall-breaking protagonist, the handwriting was on the wall. Just a few weeks ago Together premiered which has its leads talking at the camera and now The Good House employs it for no good reason other than not trusting the screenplay or Sigourney Weaver’s ability to show us what we need to know.
The Good House Can Be Fun, But Lacks Real Depth
Weaver plays Hildy Good, a New England realtor and messy alcoholic who doesn’t think she has a problem. Her children and ex-husband force her into rehab, but even when she gets out she’s still guzzling wine by the bottle because wine isn’t the same as hard liquor (which she also gets back into). She’s a mess, dealing with mounting debt due to her former mentee and now real estate rival Wendy (Kathryn Erbe) stealing her clients, still clearly feeling some kind of way about her ex-husband Scott (David Rasche) leaving her for a man, and still reeling from childhood trauma.
The Good House attempts to be a character study, but it lacks any clear direction. It has a beginning, middle, and ended, but none of these components actually mesh together. It takes a number of twists and turns and features an astounding number of false starts. Hildy Good is a wickedly fun character that Weaver does exceptionally well with playing (there’s no doubt she’s having fun) but the script ensures you never really care about her.
Even when she ventures into a relationship with her former high school sweetheart Frank Getchell (Kevin Kline in his second TIFF dud) there just isn’t a lot to work with to feel fully invested in Hildy’s life. The relationships she has with her daughters feel hollow, which is likely intentional given her own relationship with her mother, but the threads are left completely dangling. There were opportunities to bring things full circle with all of Hildy’s relationships, but it never happens. Even the supernatural element is abruptly abandoned and never really explored outside of using it later on as a weak plot device.
A lot surprisingly happens over the course of the film, especially with the large ensemble cast of characters going through their own messes (which Hildy sticks her nose into) but the script never really manages to make the ensemble work as a singular unit of storytelling. It’s all over the place, uneven, and sometimes very shallow. The Good House would have made a much better series versus a film, especially when certain elements felt like they were trying to appeal to fans of shows like The Good Witch or Frankie & Grace.
The Good House had a few solid humorous moments and Sigourney Weaver was clearly having a good time, but it fails to live up to the expectations of films and series of a similar genre.
The Good House had its world premiere this week at the Toronto International Film Festival. No release date has been set for the film.
Check out our full coverage of the Toronto International Film Festival.