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The House of the Spirits

3.6 out of 5 stars 155 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Based on Isabel Allende's best-selling novel, The House of the Spirits is a hauntingly romantic epic tale spanning three generations of the Trueba family. At its core is the stormy, yet passionate relationship between the supernaturally gifted Clara (Meryl Streep) and her controlling husband Esteban (Jeremy Irons), who resists change both politically and personally. Glenn Close, Winona Ryder, Antonio Banderas and Vanessa Redgrave also star in this timeless story of secrets, seduction, revenge and forgiveness.

Review

"A handsome, ravishing film filled with understated miracles!" --The New York Times

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Jeremy Irons, Antonio Banderas, Meryl Streep, Glenn Close, Winona Ryder
  • Directors: Bille August
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    R
    Restricted
  • Studio: Echo Bridge Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: September 20, 2011
  • Run Time: 133 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (155 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B005CFBZ3O
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #71,559 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By lawyeraau HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 5, 2001
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I love this movie! It has a stellar cast, who give top notch performances. How can you go wrong with Jeremy Irons, Meryl Streep, Glenn Close, Antonio Banderas, Winona Ryder, Vanessa Redgrave, and Armin Muehler-Stahl? The answer is that you can't. It is a riveting piece of film making, based loosely upon Isabelle Allende's wonderful book of the same name.

The film delicately captures the mysticism of the book, rendering those scenes in which such is the focal point highly believable. This is no mean feat given the subject matter. The story takes place in South America. The saga begins in the nineteen thirties.

Vanessa Redgrave and Armin Muehler-Stahl play the wealthy and liberal parents of two daughters, Rosa and Clara Del Valle. Rosa is the beautiful, older daughter. Clara, played by Meryl Streep's real life daughter, is a lovely child with exceptional, psychic gifts. Jeremy Irons plays the part of Esteban Trueba, an impoverished young man in love with Rosa. Vowing to make his fortune in order to marry her and provide her with the comforts to which she is accustomed, he succeeds in making his fortune. He loses Rosa, however, before being able to marry her, when she drinks poisoned wine intended for her liberal party father.

Esteban, broken hearted, leaves with his fortune and buys an estancia, where he sternly rules with an iron fist over the peasants who work the land for him. They obsequiously refer to him as "Patron". He takes what he wants, even the women, with the expected result. He has a bastard son whom he does not acknowledge.

Esteban has a spinster sister, Ferla, well acted by Glenn Close, who, for the past twenty years, has lived a grim existence in the city with their ailing mother, whom she has taken care of.
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Comment 66 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: DVD
I've saw this movie on VHS a long time ago. I saw it again on DVD recently and I have noticed that it has been re-edited and shortened. In the longer version, the Jeremy Irons character at the beginning of the film is in his old age. He visits his old farmhouse with his daughter and remembers the years gone past. The movie then goes into a flashback and tells the story from his youth.
In the DVD version, the entire opening scene is omitted and the story is told from the beginning. Therefore there is NO suggestion of a flashback. The edited out opening scene is quite poignant and gives more insight into the Jeremy Irons character.
Decent and interesting film none the less. Hopefully the studio will release it in it's original unedited version with extras.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Clearly the idiot execs at Miramax did read not the previous reviews of the previous DVD release. This issue of this movie is exactly the same as the previous issue. Whilst the AMAZON product's original description posted said was 140 minutes (recently corrected by Amazon) when infact it is actually, - per the label on the back - 133 minutes. So this "new" release is still the same as the previous substandard release and is also the, SHORTENED edited version missing the entire opening scene as in the theatrical release. Further to add insult to injury, after eagerly purchasing which what I thought based on the product description was the uneditied verion - there are absolutely NO extras - not even the measly theatrical trailer.

Stay clear of this recent release....and hopefuly the studio (Miramax) will get their act together and release the full - unedited version.
20 Comments 44 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: VHS Tape
This movie has a lot of "reading points" and has achieved something very difficult. Bring together top-rank cast usually does not produce good results. But, "House of the Spirits" proves that it can work fine. Inner-family problems and lack of communication as well as greed in a class-oriented society couldn't be told better. The movie has so many universal themes, finely blended. U.S. version unfortunately is not in its entirety. I say, don't miss if you see the European (longer version) by any chance.
1 Comment 9 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I don't know why one reviewer here is complaining so much about seven missing minutes and the lack of extras. This is one of our favorite films and for years we had to make do with my pan & scan VHS tape of 109 minutes. But even that tape seemed complete and coherent. I haven't read the novel but my wife who read it in English & in its original Spanish thought the filmmakers did a good job in condensing the elaborate story.

We watched this so-called 'substandard' DVD and enjoyed the film more than before. I haven't done a side-by-side comparison with the tape but this longer version of 133 minutes seems better than ever. This widescreen version looked great on our new 42" TV. If you don't know what's missing in the 140 minute version, a debatable unnecessary prologue that I explain in detail on the COMMENTS section below, you won't care as we did. This film is one to watch again & again because of the many good performances enhanced by ageing makeup. Everyone who borrowed my tape loved this family saga about forgiveness and the cast. I expect the same reaction when they borrow my DVD. Buy it and I guarantee you won't be disappointed. As for the lack of extras - What do you expect for $6.99?? I'm happy the film is available at such a low price and plays better than my old tape. Meanwhile I can wait for a deluxe edition, hopefully a Criterion one.
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