Movie Details

A retired architect returns to work at the behest of unlikely patrons in this low-key drama. Richard and Kate Banks (Jack Conley and Rebecca Staab) are a well-to-do couple who want to buy a home in Southern California. While house-hunting, Kate discovers the charred remains of a house that was never completed -- and she is highly intrigued by what she's found. Kate discovers the property belongs to Mercedes (Shirley Knight), who informs Kate that the unfinished house was one of the last works from Harry Mayfield (Philip Baker Hall), a once-famous architect who left his career behind when his marriage broke up years before. Kate and Richard buy the unfinished house and contact Harry, inviting him to complete his project for their new home, and Harry agrees. Sensing this could be a major event in contemporary architecture, Kate persuades her friend Gaby (Laura San Giacomo), a filmmaker, to make a documentary about Harry and his new project. As Gaby speaks at length with both Harry and his younger assistant Arthur (Henry Rollins), she and Kate discover just how strong-willed (and how difficult) Harry can be, and as Harry struggles to complete a difficult and deeply personal work, Kate finds a new personal strength through his efforts. A House on a Hill marked a return to dramatic filmmaking for director Chuck Workman after directing a pair of acclaimed documentaries about iconoclastic artists, Superstar: The Life and Times of Andy Warhol and The Source. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi