A Lion in the House

by robbiefreeling
May 1, 2006 10:41 AM
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Thanks to everyone who showed up last night for our festival-closing presentation at Makor. However, for those of you who did not make it to see Julia Reichert and Steven Bognar’s A Lion in the House, luckily for you there will be more chances. Last night was my first experience with the film, and let me put it bluntly: Simply, my life will never be the same.

Every critic who is gushing about the “honest” realism of United 93 should be forced to watch A Lion in the House. Its pain is unfiltered, devoid of propaganda, and likely to provide a much needed wakeup call to those who bluster about “steeling” themselves for Greengrass’s bullshit, politically suspect trauma of reenactment.

One of the most cleansing, emotional, honest, unsparing, devastating, cathartic experiences I’ve ever had in a theater, A Lion in the House simply must be seen. Following five cancer-infected children and their parents over the course of many years as they deal with the ups and downs, tragedies and hopes, wins and losses, this momentous work of human empathy demands to be seen. You will simply not be the same person coming out as you were going in. More eloquent words from my co-editor here than I can muster at this point: I’m still walking around in a daze. Spread the word. There are no excuses: The film will continue showing at Makor in a special run. Don’t make the mistake of not seeing it.
Sun, May 21 & 28, 2006, 3:30pm
Sun, Jun 4, 2006, 5:00pm
Sun, Jun 11, 2006, 3:30pm
Mon, Jun 12, 2006, 7:00pm
Steinhardt Building, 35 West 67th Street

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More: LION screenings


  • robbiefreeling | May 6, 2006 5:05 AMReply


    It's truly an honor to hear from you. You and your wife and ex-wife's courage, as displayed in the film, has been an inspiration that's been following me around the week since I've seen it. For this film, this is just the beginning. I think this film will be around for a very long time, and anyone who sees it will never forget it. Thanks for allowing us all into your lives at your most difficult times.

  • dale ashcraft | May 6, 2006 3:24 AMReply

    Thank you for your kind words about "Lion in the House". My youngest son Justin is one of the five kids in the documentary and we have been going to the festivals with the producers for Q&A after the film. It has been very difficult to watch my son die during the film but it is also a joy to see him alive again. Justin wanted this film to be made and I think he would be very proud of the finished film. I hope it can help other people facing similar situations and maybe they will be able to cope with the true hell you have to go through. Thanks again, Dale Ashcraft

  • robbiefreeling | May 2, 2006 10:37 AMReply

    Thanks, John. Yes, it will be playing on PBS, but it should be seen in the theater, as a communal experience. It will make you feel closer to everyone else around you, even as you want to crawl into yourself and hide. Why is it that Wiseman's docs are only spoken of years after the fact? Because they lacked a sufficient grass-roots campaign to back them...well consider this the beginning of the campaign. More theatrical dates will follow, and we will update.

  • johnhartfod | May 2, 2006 9:36 AMReply

    Lion in the House will also air on Independent Lens (PBS) in June.

  • brave soul | May 2, 2006 7:18 AMReply

    The real travesty here is that you're all ignoring the fact that this comment is actually about another film, which is a real masterpiece. Go see Lion In the House.

  • Tom | May 2, 2006 6:55 AMReply

    sadly, no one in the comments is really talking about this amazing film. I programmed it in Sarasota, and everyone, EVERYIONE who saw it was moved beyond words. An amazing movie; lets not worry about comparisons. Incredible and must be seen.

  • Joel | May 2, 2006 5:27 AMReply

    If you want to read something truly disagreeable, http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060427/REVIEWS/60419006

    As the saying goes, in order to disagree with someone, you must, fundamentally, agree with them. Ebert is in fucking outer space; he highlights and honors exactly what I find so contemptible about the entire United 93 film project.

  • robbiefreeling | May 2, 2006 5:21 AMReply

    I've never done this before, but I feel I'll have to delete a couple of comments above. I simply can't have some of those words on a post for a movie that has simply left me both an emotional wreck and a more enlightened human being.

  • clarencecarter | May 2, 2006 4:36 AMReply

    well said Tom...LION is amazing work. my early vote for the best documentary of the year.

  • robbiefreeling | May 1, 2006 12:48 PMReply

    A Lion in the House isn't currently in release...that's a major problem.

  • clarencecarter | May 1, 2006 12:28 PMReply

    I'm sorry, but what's predictable or overdone about bashing "Flight 93" when folks everywhere are lining up to praise it? I think, if anything, we need MORE voices questioning a work of propaganda like "United 93" rather than less.

    I haven't seen the film yet, so I can't speak towards its merits, but whether FLIGHT 93 is as good as everyone says, or irrevocably bad I think there's huge room in the discourse to compare it to a host of films, and why not LION, especially as both films center on the human experience of trauma, yet choose different ways and means of re-presenting them to us?

    Isn't teasing out the connections/disparities/linkages/disconnects between films past and present, and films and ourselves that we look to film writers for?

    I suppose Robbie could have "saved" his opinion, as you suggest, but then this is a blog he helps edit and steer, and he was good enough to give you space to air your contradictory voice, so I think all that he/we can ask in return is that you offer the same courtesy.

  • johnhartford | May 1, 2006 12:01 PMReply

    First, let me state that I'm not some overzealous "United 93" fan. But your bashing/slamming of it is not only incredbly predictable, but already way overdone. It already needs not be mentioned with or compared to any other films currently in release.
    Please, save it.