Housekeeping

Overview

Housekeeping is the film in which Christine Lahti invites a guest into a living room half-submerged in water. This is hardly the oddest moment in this offbeat Bill Forsyth film his first American production. When their mother commits suicide by driving into a lake, Idaho pre-teens Ruth Sara Walker and Lucille Andrea Burchill fall into the custody of their Aunt Sylvie Lahti. This strange young woman has throughout her life made unconventionality a life form. The girls initially aren't sure what to make of their ...
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Overview

Housekeeping is the film in which Christine Lahti invites a guest into a living room half-submerged in water. This is hardly the oddest moment in this offbeat Bill Forsyth film his first American production. When their mother commits suicide by driving into a lake, Idaho pre-teens Ruth Sara Walker and Lucille Andrea Burchill fall into the custody of their Aunt Sylvie Lahti. This strange young woman has throughout her life made unconventionality a life form. The girls initially aren't sure what to make of their loopy guardian, but in time begin to respond differently to her. When Lucille distances herself from Sylvie's eccentricities and then moves in with a local family, Walker draws closer to the older woman. The two head out on a series of picaresque adventures together, that include stealing a rowboat and riding in boxcars, but Lucille catches wind of this and informs the authorities - who promptly threaten to revoke Sylvie's custody of Ruth. By then, however, Ruth has already begun to closely identify with Sylvie. Director Forsyth adapted his script from a novel by Marilynne Robinson.
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Michael Hastings
Scottish director Bill Forsyth's first effort for a major Hollywood studio was 1987's Housekeeping, a touching but resolutely unsentimental coming-of-age story boasting one of Christine Lahti's more under-appreciated performances. When Lahti's frizzy-haired, glassy-eyed Aunt Sylvie becomes the surrogate mother to two nieces, Ruth and Lucille, her dreamy philosophies and pack-rat behavior cause a split between the high-minded Lucille and the more pensive Ruth, played with an unforced grace by, respectively, Andrea Burchill and Sara Walker. Rather than presenting Sylvie as the screen-tested stereotype of the lovable eccentric, Lahti and Forsyth make her increasingly more ambiguous as the film nears its conclusion, and the chasm between the two sisters' lifestyles takes on a bittersweet, almost tragic quality -- shadings which may have turned off audiences expecting more lighthearted fare. Lahti followed Housekeeping with a string of stellar roles in such films as Running on Empty; for Forsyth, the film would be the beginning of many post-production clashes with Hollywood studios. The haunting Pacific Northwest locales were shot by frequent Forsyth collaborator Michael Coulter.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 9/6/2011
  • UPC: 043396387676
  • Original Release: 1987
  • Rating:

  • Source: Sony Pictures Home
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 34,036

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Christine Lahti Sylvie
Sarah Walker Ruth
Sara Walker Ruth
Andrea Burchill Lucille
Anne Pitoniak Aunt Lily
Barbara Reese Nona
Bill Smille Sheriff
Margot Pinvidic Helen
Wayne Robson Mr. French
Karen Austin Mrs. Paterson
Georgie Collins Grandmother
Dolores Drake Mrs. Walker
Antony Holland Mr. Wallace
Brian Linds Deputy Sheriff
Sheila Paterson Bernice
Betty Phillips Mrs. Jardine
Enid Saunders Etta
Betty Thomas Stunt Player
Technical Credits
Bill Forsyth Director, Screenwriter
Adrienne Atkinson Production Designer
Lynne Carrow Casting
Robert F. Colesberry Producer
Michael Coulter Cinematographer
Michael Ellis Editor
Jim Erickson Set Decoration/Design
Michael Gibbs Score Composer
Ralph Parker Sound/Sound Designer
Mary-Jane Reyner Costumes/Costume Designer
Margery Simkin Casting
John Willett Art Director
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