Small Town, USA - from little farming communities set in the heartlands of America to the quaint, sleepy, seaside villages situated in the north on either coast of the country, they weave a common thread through the fabric of society that is a way of life for the residents. With populations typically under 7000 people, everyone seems to know everyone else and they all tend to be involved in each other's business. Gossiping is a favorite "sport" and secrets don't stay secrets for long. This scenario aptly describes Hildy Good's (Sigourney Weaver; Alien) life and hometown of Wendover, Mass. It also is the backdrop of the Ann Leary novel turned movie, The Good House.
Hildy was one of the top realtors in Wendover and had a flourishing business. She had two daughters and an ex-husband who left her for another man. Her life was progressing along just fine...until it wasn't. Hildy began drinking quite a bit until her family staged an intervention and she agreed to go to rehab. However, once back home she outwardly gave the appearance of maintaining sobriety while spending her nights drinking alone. Her old issues started coming back, losing clients and alienating her daughters, until one day an autistic boy goes missing, Hilda's car has a new dent in the hood and she can't remember what happened the previous evening.
While The Good House has a solid cast, it really showcases Weaver's talent and versatility. She was an excellent casting choice as she brings Hildy and her many layers and issues to life. She portrays Hildy as being very practical-minded even as she spirals more and more out of control. Hilda's former high school crush who becomes her boyfriend of sorts, Frank, is portrayed beautifully by Kevin Kline (Wild Wild West). Of course, this isn't the first time the veteran actors have worked together and played love interests. In 1993's Dave, Kline played an actor impersonating the comatose president while Weaver was cast as the First Lady who eventually realizes the man with her is not her husband. Seeing these two reunite on screen after almost 30 years is a real treat.
Even though the Blu-ray video quality is only presented in 1080p resolution, the magnificent cinematography showcases the beautiful, natural landscape full of colorful leaves and deep, lush tones. The details are outlined well and nothing seems unfocused or fuzzy. Even the outdoor scenes that are set at night have depth and varying black tones.
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 blends nicely with the video quality and serves to offer the viewer a fully authentic ambient track. New England fall/winter noises help set the mood of the film and enhance the overall aural experience. The extras are minimal and rather disappointing. They include Audio Commentary with Writers / Directors Maya Forbes & Wally Wolodarsky, Behind the Scenes Photo Gallery: The Good House, and the Theatrical Trailer. There are no cast/crew interviews that would have been interesting and no "tour" of where the movie was filmed in Canada, which would probably have increased tourism.
The Good House Directors Maya Forbes (The Polka King) and Wallace Wolodarsky (Coldblooded) make some interesting choices. Hildy often breaks the fourth wall, speaking directly to the viewer and making us a part of her world. As she makes excuses to the audience for her alcoholism, we want to believe her even as we are witnessing her destructive behavior. Despite the cast, the story, and the scenic views, The Good House is just that, good. The story drags at times and we never become fully invested in Hildy so while we are watching her slowly unravel, we aren't completely overjoyed by her recovery. Those who identify more closely with Hildy or who have a loved one they would compare to her will find a deeper meaning to the film but for the rest of us, The Good House is unmemorable.