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"THE HOUSE OF MIRTH"
(2000) (Gillian Anderson, Eric Stoltz) (PG)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Moderate None Heavy Minor None
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Mild None None None Minor
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Mild Moderate Moderate Moderate Mild


QUICK TAKE:
Drama: A single woman of the early 1900s finds her high society status crumbling when others question and/or set out to destroy her reputation.
PLOT:
It's 1905 New York and Lily Bart (GILLIAN ANDERSON) is a strong but restrained, single woman in an era and upper crust society where women her age have already been long married or risk being considered old maids. That's not to say that she's lacking in suitors. Instead, none of them seem quite right to her.

She shares a mutual attraction with lawyer Lawrence Selden (ERIC STOLTZ), but he doesn't want to marry her. Wealthy businessman Sim Rosedale (ANTHONY LAPAGLIA) wants to do just that, but more for a business/societal arrangement than for love. Meanwhile, inventor Percy Gryce (PEARCE QUIGLEY) seems like a good catch, but Lily's efforts regarding him are constantly thwarted by Bertha Dorset (LAURA LINNEY), a married woman with a reputation for delighting in making people miserable.

Her conservative husband, George (TERRY KENNEY), seems interested in Lily, especially due to Bertha's flirtatious and possibly adulterous ways with other men, but can't bring himself to divorce her. As such, Lily lives with her Aunt Julia (ELEANOR BRON) and cousin Grace Stepney (JODHI MAY), attending her inner circle's many events with acquaintances Gus (DAN AYKROYD) and Judy Trenor (PENNY DOWNIE), and confiding in her friend, Carry Fisher (ELIZABETH McGOVERN).

Since Lily has something of a gambling debt and only gets an occasional allowance from her aunt, Gus decides to help her make some money through investments, although his intentions aren't purely financial. As word gets out about the two of them being seen together, coupled with Bertha's veiled efforts to ruin her reputation, Lily suddenly finds herself falling from her society's grace. From that point on, she tries to survive in any way she can.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Unless they're fans of someone in the cast or of novelist Edith Wharton's works, it's not very likely.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: PG
For thematic material.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • GILLIAN ANDERSON plays a single woman in her twenties in an age and society where not being married isn't a good thing. Too stubborn and/or choosey to select a man, she finds herself falling from her society's grace due to happenstance, her gambling debts, and the efforts of another woman to ruin her.
  • ERIC STOLTZ plays a lawyer who's obviously attracted to Lily, but doesn't want to marry her. He does, however, often check up on her.
  • DAN AYKROYD plays a married friend of hers who agrees to help her financially, but only if he gets more than her gratitude back in return.
  • LAURA LINNEY plays a married, upper-crust woman who delights in making others miserable and thus sets out to do so to Lily. She also apparently fools around behind her husband's back (while also flirting with others in front of him).
  • TERRY KENNEY plays her mild-mannered husband who can't bring himself to divorce her so that he can be with Lily.
  • ELIZABETH McGOVERN plays Lily's confidant who tries to help her and offers advice.
  • ANTHONY LaPAGLIA plays a wealthy businessman who wants to marry Lily for business/societal reasons rather than for love.
  • JODHI MAY plays a relative of Lily's who inherits a great deal of money from their aunt.
  • ELEANOR BRON plays Lily's snooty aunt who eventually disowns her due to her behavior and gambling debts.
  • PEARCE QUIGLEY plays an inventor that Lily has her eyes on.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    The following is a brief summary of the content found in this PG rated drama. A character seemingly becomes hooked on a liquid prescription medicine (possibly morphine) and eventually takes their life via an overdose of it. Other characters drink and/or smoke.

    A few instances of passionate and/or sensuous kissing occur (along with some heavy breathing) while a few instances of cleavage are present. Only a handful of minor expletives and colorful phrases are uttered, while various characters have varying degrees of bad attitudes, including one woman who sets out to destroy the reputation of another, and a man who agrees to help a woman financially, but with the belief that he'll get more out of the deal than just her gratitude. Finally, some tense family moments are also present.

    Should you still be concerned about the film's appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home who may wish to see it, we suggest that you take a closer look at our detailed content listings for more specific examples of what occurs in the film.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • People have champagne or wine at a wedding reception.
  • Various people have wine or champagne with dinner.
  • Lily drinks some liquid, prescription medicine from a bottle (possibly morphine).
  • Lily drinks more of the above, and then does so again.
  • A person purposefully overdoses from the above liquid.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • None.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • It's noted that Bertha delights in making people miserable and she does just that in regards to Lily by lying about her to others, thus ruining her standing in their social circles. It's also somewhat implied that she fools around behind her husband's back, and we see her flirting with others in front of him.
  • After agreeing to go to church with Percy, Lily purposefully stands him up (by being late) so that he must leave without her.
  • A miscellaneous woman sells Lily an incriminating letter from Bertha to Seldon.
  • Gus agrees to be Lily's financial advisor/investor only in an attempt to be with her romantically and/or sexually (which never occurs). He then gets mad/surly when she refuses his advances (when he forces a kiss on her) and then tells her that she owes him nine thousand dollars.
  • Rosedale agrees to marry Lily, but only if she blackmails Bertha into getting her back in good graces within their social circles.
  • Lily uses her employer's name to get extra refills of a potent prescription that she's now abusing.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Some viewers may find a scene where Gus gets mad and then belligerent toward Lily and then tries forcing a kiss on her as somewhat tense.
  • The same holds true for another scene where a person purposefully overdoses with a liquid medication (that's possibly morphine) in a suicide attempt.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • None.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "I'll be damned."
  • A person commits suicide by drinking a great deal of a potent prescription medication (possibly morphine).
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • None.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 2 damns, 2 uses of "Good Lord" and 1 use each of "God" and "Good God" as exclamations.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • As Sheldon holds Lily's hand, she does some sensuous breathing and they then briefly but sensuously kiss.
  • Later, they passionately make out again with more heavy breathing on her part.
  • Bertha shows some cleavage, as does Lily's aunt.
  • A classic statue shows female nudity from the side.
  • SMOKING
  • Seldon smokes around eight times (once using a cigar), while Lily smokes a few times and Gus, Carry and George (using a cigar) smoke once. Other minor/miscellaneous characters also smoke cigarettes and cigars, and in one scene, Bertha asks Lily if she has a cigarette, but Lily acts like she no longer smokes.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • Lily's behavior and gambling debts cause her aunt to disown her.
  • After reporting that Bertha didn't show up on their yacht until 7 a.m., George states that he's going to talk to a lawyer about divorcing her.
  • Lily learns that her aunt has died and Grace is rather distraught about that, eventually blaming that death on Lily.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Societal issues of the early 1900s, including that of women's place in high society, especially regarding marital issues.
  • Lily's gambling debts and how they, along with her stubbornness, ruin her life.
  • Why Lily repeatedly refused the various marital offers she received.
  • A person commits suicide by drinking a great deal of a potent prescription medication (possibly morphine).
  • VIOLENCE
  • Gus briefly tries to force himself on Lily (by kissing her).
  • A person commits suicide by drinking a great deal of a potent prescription medication (possibly morphine).



  • Reviewed December 19, 2000 / Posted January 19, 2001

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