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The Architect

  R Closed Captioning

Matt Tauber

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Plot Summary

Tonya Neely (Viola Davis) is a neighborhood activist on the south side of Chicago, trying to get her community to rally to tear down Eden Court, the dangerous housing project where she lives. After a family tragedy, she sent her youngest daughter, Cammie (Serena Reeder), off to live with friends in a middle-class neighborhood, where she could go to a better school. Leo Waters (Anthony LaPaglia), the architect who designed Eden Court many years ago, lives a seemingly idyllic life with his wife, Julia (Isabella Rossellini), his teenage daughter, Christina (Hayden Panettiere), and his son, Martin (Sebastian Stan), who has just returned home after dropping out of college. Leo's family is on the verge of a crisis. Julia's unhappiness with their marriage leads her to clean the house obsessively. Christina is only 15, but she is eager to explore her budding sexuality. Martin is understandably cynical about his home life, and confused about his own desires. When Tonya contacts Leo, hoping to convince him to sign the petition to tear down Eden Court, it sets a chain of events in motion that will force both families to confront the issues that they've tried so hard to avoid. The Architect, which also features performances by Paul James, Walton Goggins, Tijuana Ricks, Lauren Hodges, and Malcolm Goodwin, was directed by Matt Tauber, adapted from a play by Scottish playwright David Greig. The film had its world premiere at the 2006 Tribeca Film Festival.

Rotten Tomatoes Movie Reviews


  • Reviews Counted: 38
  • Fresh: 4
  • Rotten: 34
  • Average Rating: 4.1/10

Top Critics' Reviews

Rotten: ... much of what's on the screen feels like a creaky, tone-deaf classroom exercise in mechanical contrivance. – Stephen Holden, New York Times, Jul 16, 2008

Rotten: Every character in The Architect is crazily stuccoed with crisis. – Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly, Jul 7, 2010

Rotten: Stage-to-screen transition stumbles, however, when the concept of 'home' no longer provides an evocative offstage metaphor but, instead, becomes a thudding on-screen presence. – Ronnie Scheib, Variety, Jul 7, 2010

Rotten: ...A grim little exercise in exorcising middle-class guilt. – Carina Chocano, Los Angeles Times, Sep 20, 2007

Read More About This Movie On Rotten Tomatoes

Customer Reviews


I actually came across this movie a few months ago on cable while channel surfing. I only saw the second half but was glued to the screen. This movie is moving, deep, and very emotional. Its foundation is the buildings in question, but its soul are the lives of the people involved. From the family of the architect, to the people living in a failed public housing development. I loved this movie, and cant wait to watch it again in full. Its very touching and written in a quite honest way that it draws you in wanting more. The end is dramatic and left me feeling empty because I wanted more. I really recommend this as something different, but honest, and raw. Maybe its because I could relate to some aspects of the movie that I was so captured by it, I dunno. But yeah, if u want something honest, and raw download it. You wont be disappointed.

A great movie with a lot of truth behind it

As one reviewer has said already, this movie is looking mainly on the dark sides of reality. But honestly, it really just IS reality. Too many movies are too theatrical in the sense that they are purely commercial, looking only for a laugh, a scare or just some action-packed entertainment with little to no value nor truth behind it. The South Side of Chicago actually DID go through, and is still going through a rough time when dealing with affordable housing projects, and much of this is based on real truth. However, it's still entertaining, NOT just showing a cynical side of life. Good performances by the cast as well. I doubt you'd be disappointed, and who knows? You might actually open up your mind further after seeing this, non-cushy, original film.


I think you'd have to be a rock to be unmoved by this movie. Multiple story threads all interconnected make for an interesting movement through the film. The content however is what really shines. A simple and unglamorous reflection on the human condition, and how spectacularly some people respond to life, this movie is definitely in my "watch again," list.

The Architect
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  • $4.99
  • Genre: Drama
  • Released: 2006

Customer Ratings