The House of D is the Women's House of Detention in downtown Greenwich Village. It sits on a busy street and women can be heard yelling out the barred windows to "visitors" below. Thirteen-year-old Tommy (Anton Yelchin) strikes up an ongoing conversation with an inmate he knows only as "Lady." Lady, who listens to the story of his growing pains and offers sage advice, is played by Erykah Badu, a well-known singer and musician also remembered for her deeply affecting role as the abused daughter in The Cider House Rules. Although her role in House of D is brief, it is essential to the story and she brings a soulful depth to her character. We bond to her almost immediately and see her not as a felon, but as an imprisoned fellow pilgrim.
Tommy also enjoys a deep friendship with Pappass (Robin Williams), a mentally challenged adult who helps him on his job delivering meat for a neighborhood butcher. Their relationship has an odd equilibrium as the childlike Pappas and the maturing Tommy go about their business. Their shared childishness allows them, in a brief time span, to live and function as equals, although in an unconventional way. When Tommy decides they should buy tickets for an R-rated movie, he tells Pappass, "I need you to put on your Dad face."
At the heart of the film—written and directed by David Duchovny—is Tommy's conflicted relationship with his single mother, Mrs. Warshaw (Téa Leoni, Duchovny's real-life wife). A distraught widow, she chain smokes while making Tommy eat green vegetables so that he won't succumb to cancer like his late father. Tommy's mother holds a job, but spends most of her off time sitting in their cramped apartment smoking, taking sedatives, and lamenting the loss of her ...1
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House of D
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