Housekeeping

  • 1987
  • Movie
  • PG
  • Drama

Offbeat but absorbing. Set in the 1950s and based on a Marilynne Robinson novel, this is the first American film from Scottish director Bill Forsyth. After the suicide of their mother, two young girls, Ruth (Sara Walker) and Lucille (Andrea Burchill), are brought up by their grandmother in a small Idaho town. When she dies, a pair of elderly great-aunts...read more

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Offbeat but absorbing. Set in the 1950s and based on a Marilynne Robinson novel, this is the first American film from Scottish director Bill Forsyth.

After the suicide of their mother, two young girls, Ruth (Sara Walker) and Lucille (Andrea Burchill), are brought up by their grandmother in a small Idaho town. When she dies, a pair of elderly great-aunts persuade Ruth and Lucille's itinerant aunt, Sylvie (Christine Lahti), to look after her two

nieces, who are now approaching adolescence. Sylvie, who has spent most of her life riding the rails and sleeping on benches, sets up housekeeping in her own fashion and goes about child-rearing in an unorthodox manner. Lucille, more concerned with appearances than her sister, begins to be

embarrassed by Sylvie's refusal to abide by society's conventions.

HOUSEKEEPING is a reversal of the formula that has brought director Forsyth, a master of character development and storytelling, so much success. Instead of weaving dramatic moments into capricious comedy, he leavens this heartwarming drama with laughter. Playing against type and avoiding what

could have been a paint-by-numbers portrayal, Lahti plays Sylvie as loving and ingenuous, but with a half-glimpsed sense of tragedy and disappointment. Walker and Burchill also turn in fine performances.

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  • Released: 1987
  • Rating: PG
  • Review: Offbeat but absorbing. Set in the 1950s and based on a Marilynne Robinson novel, this is the first American film from Scottish director Bill Forsyth. After the suicide of their mother, two young girls, Ruth (Sara Walker) and Lucille (Andrea Burchill), are… (more)

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