The House of the Spirits

April 1st, 1994


The House of the Spirits

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Chile, second half of the 20th century. The poor Esteban marries Clara and they get a daughter, Blanca...

Release Year: 1993

Rating: 6.5/10 (10,054 voted)

Director: Bille August

Stars: Jeremy Irons, Meryl Streep, Glenn Close

Chile, second half of the 20th century. The poor Esteban marries Clara and they get a daughter, Blanca. Esteban works hard and eventually gets money to buy a hacienda and become a local patriarch. He becomes very conservative and is feared by his workers. When Blanca grows up, she falls in love with a young revolutionary, Pedro, who urges the workers to fight for socialism. It is unavoidable that Pedro and Esteban are pitted against each other. Esteban tries to stop the love affair between Pedro and his daughter by all means possible but soon Blanca becomes pregnant and has a daughter. The void between father and daughter seems unbridgeable when Blanca moves in with Pedro.

Writers: Bille August, Isabel Allende

Meryl Streep - Clara del Valle Trueba
Glenn Close - Férula Trueba
Jeremy Irons - Esteban Trueba
Winona Ryder - Blanca Trueba
Antonio Banderas - Pedro Tercero García
Vanessa Redgrave - Nívea del Valle
Maria Conchita Alonso - Tránsito Soto
Armin Mueller-Stahl - Severo del Valle
Jan Niklas - Count Jean de Satigny
Sarita Choudhury - Pancha García
António Assunção - Man at Cattlemarket (as António Assumpção)
Julie Balloo - Young Lady
Frank Baker - Intelligence Officer
João Cabral - Soldier
Miguel Guilherme - Soldier

Release Date: 1 April 1994

Filming Locations: Alentejo, Portugal

Box Office Details

Budget: $25,000,000 (estimated)

Gross: $6,265,311 (USA)

Technical Specs

Runtime:  | Germany:  | Spain:

Anachronisms: Alba is eating KFC, but the KFC name/logo wasn't adopted until the 1990s (it was formerly Kentucky Fried Chicken), it's in a basket instead of a box, and the chain wasn't franchised in South America in the 1970s anyway.

Férula Trueba: I would like to be a man... for also to leave.
Esteban Trueba: And I am happy for not being a woman.

User Review

The greatest representation of life in Chile at that time!


This is the story Esteban, a man who gain land and fortune through hard work. He only wishes for a loving family that have what he did not when he was a child. His conservative ways adds to that struggle and creates conflict with his family. This conflict grows when one of his low-class workers falls in love with his daughter. The military coup of 1973 to bring communism down in Chile is shown.

This film represents what it is to live in Chile. I have never seen any film that tells the culture and the people of the southern South-America better. Most people makes the mistake to think that people in Chile and Argentina are not white. The whole cast represents EXACTLY what chileans look like and the difference between the higher and lower class. You can learn a lot from this film.

This movie is 110% recommended. It may have some differences with the book but it is respectful to it. Excellent camera and direction work at a spectacular location.


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