ⓘ The Glass House (2001 film)


ⓘ The Glass House (2001 film)

The Glass House is a 2001 American psychological mystery thriller film directed by Daniel Sackheim and written by Wesley Strick. The film stars Leelee Sobieski, Stellan Skarsgård, Diane Lane, Bruce Dern, Kathy Baker, Trevor Morgan and Chris Noth.

The film received generally negative reviews and was a box office bomb, grossing only $23 million on a $30 million production budget. The main reason cited for the financial failure of the film was the fact that the film was released 3 days after the September 11 attacks.


1. Plot

Sixteen-year-old Ruby Baker Leelee Sobieski and her eleven-year-old brother Rhett Trevor Morgan lose their parents, Dave and Grace, in a car accident. Their parents will is not a recent one but, in accordance with its terms, the children are placed under the guardianship of family neighbors from some years back, the childless couple Erin Diane Lane and Terry Stellan Skarsgård Glass, who live in a large glass house in Malibu.

There are early indications that all is not well. The children have to share a room; they are no longer educated privately; Rhett is allowed to play with games consoles at all times; and Ruby is made uneasy by Terrys sexual hints when they are alone. Ruby comes across unlabeled pharmaceuticals and sees Erin injecting herself, though the couple claims this is for diabetes. Ruby tries unsuccessfully to get the childrens estate and trust fund lawyer Alvin Begleiter Bruce Dern to accept her concerns and a visiting social worker is taken in by the couples assurances.

Ruby discovers a postcard from the childrens maternal Uncle Jack Chris Noth in the trash, along with a letter from a private school indicating the Glasses unregistered the children and pocketed the $30.000+ tuition money. Ruby also finds signs that Terry is in debt to loan sharks, and she gradually realizes her new foster parents are after the siblings $4 million trust fund. Ruby becomes suspicious of her parents death and discovers evidence of the Glasses involvement from the online news which states that Rubys parents had been driving a BMW, which was actually one of Terrys cars, instead of their Saab. Moreover, Ruby is expelled from school because her essay, which Terry finished for her seemingly to rekindle their relationship, is found to be plagiarised; it is later revealed that this is Terrys plan to send Ruby to a boarding school far away. After being pushed by the loan sharks to pay off his debt, Terry decides to get money from the financial authority, claiming that it is to be used for the childrens benefit. However, his request is denied and he is shown a copy of the un-registration letter from the school, previously faxed to the authority most likely by Ruby, which raises the question of why he needs more money when he has already gotten the tuition money back in his pocket.

Later in the middle of the night, Ruby steals Terrys car keys, wakes Rhett up and drives off in his Jaguar, attempting to escape. She is unfortunately stopped by the police who demand to see her drivers license. The kids are recaptured in the car on the road by Terry and Erin who talk the police into letting them go. Back at home, when Ruby attempts to run away again, Terry slaps her which knocks her down and Erin drugs her. Terry then tells Erin they must get rid of Ruby. Overcome by guilt and having been permanently stripped from her medical license after her employer Dr. Weiss uncovered her drug abuse, Erin commits suicide by overdose. Terry locks the kids in the basement and sabotages his car, expecting the kids to make another escape attempt and consequently die in it. However, the loan sharks alerted by Ruby appear at Terrys house, kill Mr. Begleiter who has come to confront Terry and revealed his complicity, though without being aware of the Glasses corrupted intention, repossess Terrys Jaguar and Ferrari, and insist on taking a ride. Terry begs them to take the Volvo instead of the Jaguar. Having heard everything, Ruby rushes to stab the tires of the Volvo with a knife, causing the loan sharks to put Terry in the Jaguar and drive away in it. The car then goes over a ledge and crashes, killing the loan sharks, but Terry survives.

Meanwhile, the children are picked up by a friendly cop. The policeman passes the scene of an accident with Terrys Ferrari and the kids see a body being covered up. They continues on to the kids house but he stops when he sees evidence of a car having broken through the barrier. He tells the children to stay in the car while he investigates. When he comes across the car, he reports on the radio that there is one fatality. Just then, Terry comes up and hits him, knocking him out. After climbing back up the embankment, a severely injured Terry tries to lure Ruby and Rhett toward him while hiding a gun. Instead, Ruby crawls into the front seat and after backing the car up and telling Rhett to put his seatbelt on, drives quickly into Terry, killing him.

The kids are last seen placing flowers at the grave of their parents. Their Uncle Jack arrives and hugs them, saying that things will get easier and Ruby responds that they already have. They leave together to go home to Chicago.


2. Home media

The film was released on VHS and DVD on January 2, 2002. A Blu-ray version of the film has yet to be released. The original cut of the film was reported to be 180 minutes long, with 74 minutes worth of footage missing from the theatrical cut. Kip Pardue played Leelee Sobieskis love interest in the original cut though all of his scenes ended up on the cutting room floor. Of all the deleted footage, only two scenes managed to survive. They are included on the DVD as deleted scenes listed below:

  • Ruby and Rhett are seen at their parents funeral burying their ashes at the cemetery.
  • After Ruby faints when she finds the cops at her house, she wakes up the next morning believing her parents accident was only a nightmare. When she heads downstairs, the neighbors are there to tell her it wasnt. Ruby sits at the table and cries as the camera slowly pans away from her.

Because of the films critical and financial failure, the studio had little interest in keeping unused footage and the missing 74 minutes worth of footage has since been considered lost.


3.1. Release Box office

The film opened at number two in its opening weekend at the US box office, behind Hardball, in which Diane Lane also stars. The Glass House grossed $18.150.259 domestically and $5.469.350 overseas, grossing a total of $23.619.609. The films production budget was $30 million, resulting in a box-office bomb.


3.2. Release Critical reception

Rotten Tomatoes, a review aggregator, reports that the film received positive reviews by 21% of the 84 surveyed critics. The average rating was 4.2 out of 10, and the consensus is: "Due to obvious plot twists and foreshadowing, The Glass House fails to thrill. By the end, it degenerates into ludicrousness." Roger Ebert rated the film 2 out of 4 stars and criticized the films script. Writing in The New York Times, A. O. Scott called it unintentionally funny. Robert Koehler of Variety also called the film unintentionally funny and questioned why so many talented actors signed on to a poor script. Edward Guthmann, of the San Francisco Chronicle, criticized the films violence and the timing of the release, which coincided with the September 11 attacks in fact, for many critics it was the first film they saw after returning to work. In a more positive review, USA Today s Claudia Puig rated the film two out of four stars but called it "eerily engrossing."


4. Sequel

A direct-to-video sequel, Glass House: The Good Mother, was released in 2006. The film did not feature any of the original characters and did not take place in the same house.

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