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The Keys to the House (2004)

Cast: Kim Rossi Stuart, Charlotte Rampling, Andrea Rossi, more...
Director: Gianni Amelio, Gianni Amelio
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Rating: Not Rated
Studio: Lions Gate
Genre: Drama, Foreign, Italy
Running Time: 107 min.
Languages: English, Italian
Subtitles: English
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A man makes friends with his teenaged son for the first time in this emotional drama from Italy. Gianni (Kim Rossi Stuart) fathered a child with his wife, but she died in childbirth, and the baby was born with severe physical and mental handicaps. The boy, Paolo (Andrea Rossi), was raised by the late woman's family until he reached the age of 15, when Gianni decided he wanted to meet and spend time with his son. With Paolo scheduled for treatment with medical specialists in Germany, Gianni offers to pick up his son and travel with him to Berlin. At first, Gianni is taken aback by the extent of his son's disabilities, but he also sees the great warmth and charm that his son possesses, and over the course of their first few days together, Gianni begins to feel a real bond with Paolo for the first time. While in Berlin, Gianni makes friends with Nicole (Charlotte Rampling), a woman whose daughter faces many of the same challenges as Paolo, and through her he begins to appreciate the responsibilities and the rewards of caring for a handicapped child. La Chiavi di Casa (aka The Keys to the House) was screened in competition at the 2004 Venice Film Festival. ~ Mark Deming, All Movie Guide

Read GreenCine's exclusive interview: The Realist: A Talk with Gianni Amelio. As the retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art, Poetry and Rigor: The Films of Gianni Amelio, drew to a close, David D'Arcy looked back again with the director at his own work, at Italian Neo-Realism and Antonioni, and ahead to Italy's place in a globalized world.

GreenCine Member Reviews

Why Do We Care for Others? by talltale July 9, 2005 - 7:13 AM PDT
4 out of 4 members found this review helpful
I am not enough of a film scholar or craftsman to understand quite why, but the films of Gianni Amelio seem to use close-ups in a manner that pulls me in better than any other filmmaker. Granted, he chooses actors possessing beauty, intelligence and the moment-to-moment facility to engage the viewer (Enrico LoVerso in "The Way We Laughed," "Stolen Children" and "Lamerica" and now Kim Rossi Stuart, Andrea Rossi and Charlotte Rampling in THE KEYS TO THE HOUSE). But Amelio brings to his film feasts a unique blend of composition, subject matter and caring. His new film, about a father's reconnecting to his handicapped child after 14 years, surpasses everything else I've seen that deals remotely with this subject. The movie pulls you in from the first moments, as the father talks with an in-law who is his son's caretaker, and it does not let you go until the credits roll.

Amelio tackles one of life's most difficult and important questions--why we do, don't and should care for each other--without a bit of sermonizing. He just shows. And he does not stint on how difficult this caring can be. Rampling's character sees to that, and the actress (who appears to have used no make-up and looks every day of her actual age) has never been better--which is saying a lot. The director's decision to use the handicapped as actors in place of actors as handicapped pays off in a manner that can't be faked. "The Keys to the House" is a small masterpiece that I believe will stand the test of time.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 7.00)
10 Votes
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Cinema Italiana

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