Saturday, November 12, 2011

A House Divided

Broken homes on film. An article by Steve Greydanus.
In a number of recent broken-family films, “broken home” is not just a metaphor. Like Dorothy’s, uprooted in fairy-tale response to her running away, physical houses in one family film after another are displaced, torn asunder, and undergo fantastic, traumatic crises and transformations in visionary mirroring of the upheaval in the characters’ lives. Among the more striking examples of this poetic linking of house and household are Jon Favreau’s intriguing 2005 fantasy Zathura, Gil Kenan’s 2006 Halloween tale Monster House, Mark Waters’s smart, scary 2008 thriller The Spiderwick Chronicles, and Pete Docter’s 2009 Pixar fantasy Up.
All four films touch in one way or another on themes of death and marital dissolution, events that rock families to their foundations. Two—Zathura and The Spiderwick Chronicles—are live-action adventures, based on children’s books, and focus on families broken apart by marital division; the other two—Monster House and Up—are original computer-animated fantasies, and focus on childless unions ending in death. Connective threads run in other directions as well. (Read entire article.)

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