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House of Sand and Fog

4 out of 5 stars 414 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Academy Award winners Ben Kingsley (Gandhi) and Jennifer Connelly (A Beautiful Mind) deliver stunning performances as two strangers whose conflicting pursuits of the American Dream lead to a fight for their hopes at any cost. What begins as a struggle over a rundown bungalow spirals into a clash that propels everyone involved toward a shocking resolution. "The surprise ending will leave you breathless!" (Clay Smith, Access Hollywood)

Special Features

  • Deleted Scenes with commentary
  • Behind the Scenes featurette
  • Shohreh Aghdashloo Audition
  • Archives
  • Production Notes

Product Details

  • Actors: Jennifer Connelly, Ben Kingsley, Ron Eldard, Frances Fisher, Kim Dickens
  • Directors: Vadim Perelman
  • Writers: Vadim Perelman, Andre Dubus III, Shawn Lawrence Otto
  • Producers: Chris Soldo, Jeremiah Samuels, Michael London, Nina R. Sadowsky
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Unknown)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Dubbed: French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    R
    Restricted
  • Studio: Dreamworks Video
  • DVD Release Date: March 30, 2004
  • Run Time: 126 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (414 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0001DMVBC
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #84,964 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "House of Sand and Fog" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Mark D. Cunningham on March 6, 2004
Format: DVD
With the exception of Niki Caro's sublime "Whale Rider," no movie moved me more this past year than Vadim Perelman's "House of Sand and Fog." This story of a broken and desperate young woman who loses her house because her depression won't allow her to simply open her mail and the determined and steadfast Iranian colonel who strives to secure a better life and future for his family is a cacophony of raw emotion and heartbreak. Further, it is a meditation on what is important in life and how easy it is--no matter the intentions--to forget that very thing.
This is a movie that is well photographed, beautifully adapted from Andre Dubus III's Oprah-approved novel of the same name and stunningly helmed by first time feature director Perelman. But "House" is a film that is anchored by its performances. There is hardly a false note in the acting (Ron Eldard occasionally seems overwhelmed by the powerhouse actors who surround him, however his work is still convincing). Jennifer Connelly conveys Kathy Niccoli's despair wonderfully. You can feel the depression wholly consuming her.
Ben Kingsley is superb! The scene in the hospital near the end of the film is a master class in acting. Kingsley's work is brave throughout the film--he allows the audience to see Colonel Behrani's flaws and hold him accountable for them while also helping us to understand that his ambition, his dreams and desires are to serve the needs of his family. It is among the most dynamic work by an actor in any year.
As fine as Kingsley is, however, my favorite performance of last year and now one of my favorites of all time has to be the stunning work by the invaluable and flawless Shohreh Aghdashloo. In her role as Behrani's patient and loving wife Nadi, Aghdashloo is grace under pressure.
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6 Comments 218 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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This is an emotionally wrenching movie...utterly fascinating and devastating. Some critics have blasted the movie for having an over-the-top or far-fetched ending. The ending is quite devastating, but it is totally convincing and earns its "tragedy" the old fashioned way...by making us care VERY much for the characters.
You probably know the basic plot. Jennifer Connolly, a recovering addict who is still in deep depression, has ignored pleas to pay taxes on the home she inherited from her father, and is suddenly evicted with no place to go. The house is bought by Iranian emigree (and former colonel and confidant of the Shah) Ben Kingsley, as a way of bringing his family a little closer to the American dream.
Kingsley has no idea the circumstances under which Connolly loses her house...he's got things pretty rough himself. Some early scenes in the movie beautifully show the dignity with which Kingsley endures two horrible jobs...working on a road crew and in a convenience store. This is a proud man, a formerly important one, who strives mightily to keep up appearances...not just for his own pride, but so that his daughter can marry well and so his son can go to university. He is a prickly man, no doubt, but noble.
Connolly realises that the house was really the last lifeline holding her to some semblance of sanity. She readily admits that she didn't even take good care of it, but upon losing it, she becomes obsessed with getting it back.
She is joined in this by the cop who initially helped evict her, played by Ron Ellard. He has his own problems, including what he considers to be a shaky marriage. His attraction to Connolly turns into an obsessive need to prove his worth to her by getting her the house back. No matter what!
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You may have never heard of "House of Sand and Fog" as it went over the heads of mainstream audiences as quiet and transparent as the fog itself. But it is worth an extra squabble or two to hunt and experience this movie playing in very limited theaters near you (it is available on DVD right now). Based on a book with the same name by Andre Dubus III, picked by Oprah as her book club selection, this is a very powerful albeit depressing movie that will greatly satisfy those who are craving for an antidote for the usual fun and safe movies. This is a "feel bad" movie, not a "feel good" one, that will leave you very angry and miserable for days to come. Yet, you choose to, because that is exactly the point. The ugly side of human nature is not a pretty thing.
Massoud Amir Behrani (Ben Kingsley) is a former colonel in the service of Iranian Shah who fled from his country with his wife Nadi, a seemingly spoiled yet very kind woman, and his son Esmail to America. As an immigrant, now living in a country where racism, prejudice and cultural differences seep through quietly yet painfully, Massoud tries to maintain his dignity and pride by working as a road maintenance by day and a cashier at a convenience store by night to provide a good future for his family.
His determination for the American dream rises as he sees a money-making opportunity when he stumbles upon an auction of a house confiscated by the county to pay back taxes. Massoud buys it and fixes it and plans to sell it four times than the original cost. All is well if it isn't for the fact that the house is owned by Kathy Nicolo (Jennifer Connelly), who inherited it from her deceased father eight months ago.
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