September 20


TIFF Toronto International Film Festival 2021 #TIFF21 

 Film THE GOOD HOUSE    by Sally Warburton

The beautiful Roy Thomson Hall was one of the main screening venues for TIFF21 films. A long awaited film release is that of THE GOOD HOUSE starring Sigourney Weaver and Kevin Kline. Audience members were thrilled to have Sigourney Weaver in attendance along with the two film creators, a writing-directing couple, Maya Forbes and Wallace Wolodarsky. They were introduced by TIFF’s current Executive Director and Co-Head Joana Vicente.  Sigourney Weaver plays a middle aged Real Estate agent in a small beautiful ocean set community. A claustrophobic feeling is created as everyone knows each other.  Another Real Estate who Hildy (Sigourney) had trained, left her company with her list of clients including the most recent couple who were close to buying. Devastating. We feel it. She’s going broke. The way the film’s story is told is having Sigourney stop and speak directly to the audience to tell her true feelings. Very unique. Although the film description is about her rekindled romance with Kevin Kline’s character, it is essentially a film about alcoholism.  Weaver’s character Hildy has been in Rehab once for her alcoholism.  She’s now confronted by her two daughters and ex-husband and told she needs to stop drinking. One daughter says she won’t be able to babysit her little granddaughter anymore. Hildy denies she is drinking. We see her drinking alone. Alone with her two dogs – her best friends. She has a stash of boxes of wine and opens bottles with ease. There are treacherous situations of Hildy driving drunk. So drunk that she can’t remember what she’s done.  This happens several times and is shocking.  We really feel how awful her situation is. Finally Hildy agrees to go to Rehab.  She is supported emotionally by Kline who says he’ll be waiting for her when she returns. The acting is brilliant. The setting, the scenes, acting of family members and community members, lifestyle seen in the film along with the “what’s going to happen to Hildy” going through the film viewer’s mind create an enthralling film.  

Based on the book The Good House by Ann Leary, this film deals with alcoholism and its effect on not only the life of the alcoholic but the family members, friends and colleagues. As anyone knows about alcoholics, this is exactly how it goes. The support of family and friends is essential. The film also deals with the rekindled romance with Kline but this is secondary – and wonderful. 

The evening at Roy Thomson Hall started with Sigourney Weaver greeting the audience along with Maya Forbes and Wallace Wolodarsky and introduced by TIFF’s Joana Vicente.  After the film screening they returned to the front stage to answer questions led by Joana Vicente. They then opened up questions to the audience.  We learned a lot about the film, about preparing for the film as an actor and the motivation of the writer-directors.

Another wonderful TIFF21 evening, An excellent film, The Good House, in a wonderful, airy venue with lots of room for social distancing. Outside Roy Thomson Hall there was a small crowd of Sigourney fans hoping for a photo. They weren’t as lucky as we all were to have seen her in person at the screening.