Conclusion: There's something deliciously yet fleetingly smart about In the House , which at its best points to director FranÃ§ois Ozon -- not the first-rate filmmaker he once promised to be, but a reliable creator of actually elegant, actually inspired pastiches -- as a successor to the late, often great Claude Chabrol's obsession with the calm nihilism he saw permeating bourgeois existence.
Summary: What is the qualitative difference between imaginative literature and "mere" reportage? That may seem like a question with an obvious answer, but is it? Some of our most iconic fiction writers were ones who were able to describe their times with almost journalistic fervor. Think of the great novels by Dickens, Hugo or Tolstoy—all rife with finely observed details that not only could have been real, in some cases they actually were , albeit tweaked slightly here or there...
Excerpt: In The White Album , Joan Didion wrote that we "tell ourselves stories in order to live," and, with the cheeky dark comedy In the House , bad-boy French auteur François Ozon flips that idea and sets out to confront characters whose lives, and the lives of those they spin yarns around, are twisted by the truth-seeking and illusion-creating narratives they obsess over.
Excerpt: "In the House" cleverly and deliberately blurs the line between fact and fiction. As the plot develops, we are left to ponder what game is being played. This is a clever movie where the audience could feel as manipulated as any of the characters; is there a disquieting undertone of malevolence or was it imagined? After all, this is a witty story about story-telling and it is a good story well told. Inside, outside, and upside down.