US, 1994, 90 minutes, Colour.
James Woods, Anne Archer.
Directed by Glenn Jordan.
Jane’s House has fine credentials. It was directed by Glenn Jordan who directed many telemovies from 1970 on. He also directed a number of feature films including Only When I Laugh and Mass Appeal. The screenplay was written by Eric Roth whose variety of screenplays include Forrest Gump, The Postman, The Horse Whisperer, The Insider and Ali. This film was produced just prior to Forrest Gump.
The film is about a family, a widower played by James Woods marrying a professional woman played by Anne Archer. However, they live in his former wife’s house and the house itself becomes almost a character in the marriage. The widower’s children do not take well to their new stepmother. The film focuses on the struggle to make a new life after the experience of death and grief.
1.An interesting and entertaining telemovie? Emotion and sentiment?
2.The settings, American-style affluence, homes, lifestyles? Authentic tone, musical score?
3.The focus on family, the focus on the original family, Paul and Mary, their children? The decision for a new family? Paul and Mary? The children and their difficulties?
4.The title, Mary’s presence in her house, her absence? The effect on Paul, the experience of death and grief, his memories, comparisons? The effect on the children, their grieving for their mother, remembering her, making it difficult to accept Mary? Mary and her struggles to overcome the dominant presence of Jane in her house? Memories, love? The importance and the difficulties of letting go?
5.Paul and James Wood’s presence and style? His relationship with his children, the daughter and sexuality? The boy and his being possessive? Crying? The experiences of school? Friends, taking care of him? Advice?
6.The world of work, his brother, the shop, responsibilities? Mary and the encounter, falling in love, the proposal?
7.Hilary, in herself, her age, moods? Boyfriend? Lonely? The meal and her misbehaving, crying?
8.Mary and the background of tennis? In herself, her age, experience? Work, partner? The encounter with Paul, the gift? Autographs?
9.Themes of sharing, talking, discussion, sexuality, possibility, how to deal with the children, gifts and sharing?
10.The proposal, the decision to marry, the marriage and hopes?
11.The aftermath of the wedding, Paul at home, the ties? Expectations, judgments? Clashes? Leaving?
12.Themes of reconciliation, treasuring of memories, letting go? Crises? The facing of the future? Courage? A film blending reality and sentiment?