Directed by Jonathan Parker the characters in the movie have been exaggerated to fit the narrative.The story revolves around a couple, Colin (Eric McCormack) and Drew (Parker Posey), and their architect, Miles Moss (James Frain). A very regular city couple want to build a dream home before starting a family.
Architects and the profession of architecture have, many times been reflected in movies as a fun, quirky, elitist, and very popular profession to show corporate nature or creative personalities for character creation. The name of the movie ‘The Architect’ definitely makes one curious about the movie, if not for the story then at least to find out what inspired the director to create a movie narrative on architects. It also makes for an interesting study to understand the way an architect is perceived by the masses, or at least the director in this case.
The movie plot
Directed by Jonathan Parker the characters in the movie have been exaggerated to fit the narrative. The couple consists of a calculative and city-smart husband who is a numbers and finance guy, a naïve attention-seeking wife who is an independent artist and a characteristic clichéd architect personality with all the exaggerated and infamous traits that one comes across in architects combined into one individual.
The story revolves around a couple, Colin (Eric McCormack) and Drew (Parker Posey), and their architect, Miles Moss (James Frain). A very regular city couple want to build a dream home before starting a family. The aspirations of owning a beautiful home that fits into a tight budget, wanting top-end technology and automation at economical rates, and the wish of separate spaces for each individual reflecting their personality comes across strongly.They are quite influenced in their ideas by the lifestyle of their friends and neighbours.
The search for a dream home brings the couple to a very beautiful plot with a house overlooking a lake. The couple buys the house, with the idea of turning it into a perfect place for themselves, only to have it completely destroyed in a devastating storm on the night of closing the deal.
While going through the area, Drew gets drawn to a house done by an architectural firm and connects to the architect there. The hired architect (Miles) turns out to be a snobbish, elitist person who works only to fulfill his desires and wishes. What follows is an attempt by Miles to justify design quirkiness to disoriented clients, heavy dialogues peppered with architectural jargon and the overpowering and complete lack of connectivity to people in design matters.
The architect has his own distinct ambition of building the home he wants and the ideas of Drew, Colin and Miles conflict at various levels. From here it is a roller coaster of what each of them expects to create as their own dream home. An attraction between Drew and Miles also becomes a part of the already boring and predictable sub-plot.
The abrupt and disruptive end leaves one feeling uprooted and disoriented by the message that is being conveyed or should one say the attempt to convey a generality and clubbing of characteristics.
A personal Take
With a wonderful landscape and plot of land on which the home was to be built, amazing aerial views, shot and scenes of the city skyline, and interesting smart contemporary interiors, the movie could have done much better with its plot. Throughout the movie, one comes across glimpses and peeks of moments of sheer creativity and humanity.
Would a non-architect connect to the movie ? Maybe yes. The movie definitely delves into some eccentric senses of architects and their ways of working, providing a sneak-peak, albeit a lop-sided view of the architects’ quirkiness in general. It also contrasts the never-ending struggle between designers and the construction industry and technological challenges to bring ideas to reality. The very real struggle of real estate, construction and client aspirations also comes to the forefront in the narrative.
Some would find the movie a fine satire with a balance of drama and comedy. However, for someone who is very picky about their choice of movies, watching ‘The Architect’ was nothing short of an ordeal for me. I would neither place it in the drama nor the comedy genre. In the end one is left to rethink the generality of one’s profession, person and work.
Check out the trailer for the movie: