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The House I Live In Review

  • Release Date: Oct 05, 2012
  • Rated:
  • Runtime: 1 hr. 48 min.
  • Genres: Documentary
  • Director:Eugene Jarecki

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 4.0

    out of 100

    Generally favorable reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 100

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Owen Gleiberman

    David Simon, creator of "The Wire," who argues that the targeting of minorities, fused with mandatory sentencing, has turned the war on drugs into ''a holocaust in slow motion.''

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  • 80

    out of 100

    Wall Street Journal John Anderson

    The scope of the subject is such that when Mr. Jarecki's voiceover cuts into the narrative, imposing a personal angle on the national story, it reduces the sense of significance its creator aimed for. But that's a fairly backhanded endorsement of a very potent movie.

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For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 16+

Powerful film takes aim at the U.S. War on Drugs.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that The House I Live In is a documentary about the War on Drugs and the enormous toll it's taken on the United States. The film makes the shocking argument that the War on Drugs has turned into a profitable industry -- i.e., building new prisons and hiring guards and police; it also suggests some parallels between the War on Drugs and elements of the Holocaust. It's heavy stuff, but the tone is thoughtful and proactive, and many activists have begun working to turn things around -- and the movie encourages viewers to join the fight. There's some strong language, with a few uses of "f--k" and "s--t." Hard drugs are discussed at length and shown, though images of people actually using are only seen fleetingly in photographs and archival footage. The movie's content is impactful enough and responsible enough that older teens could handle it -- and in fact, should be encouraged to see it.

  • Families can talk about The House I Live In's violent and shocking content. How necessary is it for the movie to make its point?
  • Does the movie encourage using or selling drugs in any way? Does it forgive those who do? Is any part of the drug trade glamorized?
  • What can an average person do to help fight against the destructive cycle depicted in the movie?
  • Which of the interviewees in the film best comes across as a positive role model? Why?

The good stuff
  • message true2

    Messages: The House I Live In presents some sobering and shocking facts about the United States' war on drugs. Calling attention to these ideas raises hope that we can make changes, and the movie encourages viewers to join the struggle.

  • rolemodels true2

    Role models: Though the movie paints a mostly negative picture, many of the participants are activists who believe that change is possible.

What to watch for
  • violence false1

    Violence: The movie makes reference to the Holocaust and shows the depressing interiors of prisons. Some footage of cops arresting drug "offenders." Very little actual violence is shown, but the overall tone is one of oppression.

  • sex false0

    Sex: Not applicable

  • language false4

    Language: Language is infrequent but includes a few uses of "f--k," "s--t," "a--holes," "butt," and "genitals."

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not applicable

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false4

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Though The House I Live In talks heavily about drugs, it isn't actually about drug addiction and only has a few fleeting glimpses of people using drugs (mainly in photographs and archival footage). The movie certainly doesn't encourage using drugs, but it mentions many drugs by name and often shows images of them: pot, cocaine, crack, meth, etc.