The film begins with a retrospective moment when Blanka (Winona Ryder) brings her elderly father Esteban Trueba (Jeremy Irons) to the Tres Marias family estate in the countryside. The year is 1973, and the place where the action takes place is the state of Chile. He remembers many years earlier when, as a poor young man, he proposed to the rich Rosa del Vale and promised her parents that he would become a man worthy of her. However, due to unfortunate circumstances, Rosa dies, and her younger sister Clara (Meryl Streep) predicts that because she has a special gift. Esteban, meanwhile, gets rich and builds his name, property and becomes a respectable, but strict and cruel man who treats his workers inhumanely.
His sister Ferula (Glenn Close), a nun dedicated to God all her life, comes to his estate. After some time, Esteban accidentally runs into Clara, who is now an adult, and marries her with the consent of her parents. Clara and Esteban live an almost idyllic life, with occasional excessive outbursts of tenderness between Clara and Ferula that become bizarrely close, which will create conflicts.
The film is based on the debut novel of the same name by Isabelle Alende, niece of former Chilean President Salvador Alende, who was assassinated in 1973 when the army took power in Chile and the infamous regime of General Augusto Pinochet. There are some dissatisfactions with the adaptation because, as in the film, the novel is full of events, not all of which could be screened, but I personally think that the core is affected. This is a film about unhappy loves, this is a family tragedy, this is also a romantic drama. Elements of the then socio-political relations in the country were also inserted, and the supernatural elements of Clara’s abilities give a special touch to the film. The beauty is that it is not overly emphasized, but that feeling accompanies us constantly while watching the movie.
The House of Spirits is very layered, with a lot of events, but it is still not difficult to follow because the story is told in a very interesting way, without pathetic moments, and with a lot of realistic ones. The film was directed by Danish director Bile August, who also helped with the screenplay. recorded a great Night Train to Lisbon, again with Jeremy Irons. He won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film Pelle the Conqueror in 1987.
One of the actors on my A-list fit in great with his role (as he always did), although many doubted that Irons could perform the role so well because he plays a Latin American. We see in his case that there is no need to be skeptical, this Briton has done great and is really very convincing as a cruel plantation tyrant. Meryl Streep beautifully portrayed the role of Clara with her tenderness and calmness, while I give praise to my pet Glen Close. She is scary at times, scared at times, bizarre, strange, unpredictable.
Also, this is the golden age of Vinona Ryder, who had the courage to do disgusting scenes of torture, and her partner in those scenes was her film brother Vincent Gallo, one of those actors who only exists to play such horrible characters. I will also mention the young Antonio Banderas and the wonderful Maria Conchita Alonso, they both did a great job with their characters and, although their minutes were incomparably less, they left a positive impression.
In this film, very realistic moments are intertwined with the spiritual, accompanied by a lot of strong emotions that overcome everything and take precedence. One of the most emotional films I’ve seen, at least left such an impression on me, followed by great and convincing acting performances.