The Architect (2006) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Architect (2006)



Critic Consensus: A glum drama that's so self-affected it fails to affect.

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Movie Info

Leo Waters is an idealistic architect and patriarch of an affluent, suburban Chicago family. Tonya Neeley is a pragmatic activist who is trying to keep her family together while living in one of the city's most drug and crime-infested public housing projects. As part of her ongoing campaign to have the projects torn down and decent housing built in its place, Tonya decides that the one signature she needs more than any other on her petition is that of the projects' original architect, Leo Waters.

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Anthony LaPaglia
as Leo Waters
Viola Davis
as Tonya Neely
Isabella Rossellini
as Julia Waters
Hayden Panettiere
as Christina Waters
Sebastian Stan
as Martin Waters
Constance Wu
as Michelle
Serena Reeder
as Cammie Neely
Lillias White
as Geraldine
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Critic Reviews for The Architect

All Critics (38) | Top Critics (17)

Despite his obvious earnestness, first-time director and cowriter Matt Tauber is ill equipped to mine emotions this complex.

December 15, 2006 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

Too many "big" moments are happening to too many people for the movie to feel plausible, and Tauber tries to tie many of those plots together in a way that seems contrived.

December 15, 2006 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

Given the fact that The Architect is obviously a work in the tradition of Arthur Miller and Tennessee Williams, not to mention Henrik Ibsen, it's disappointing.

December 14, 2006 | Rating: 2.5/4

The Architect wears its heavy social consciousness like an albatross, and Tauber's plodding, earnest direction does little to wean the material away from its stage roots.

December 8, 2006 | Rating: C- | Full Review…
Top Critic

Painfully portentous and more solemn than Santa's funeral, The Architect gets this year's prize for the movie most likely to spoil holiday cheer.

December 8, 2006 | Rating: 1.5/4

Despite graphic scenes of drug- and crime-infested buildings where people are forced to live behind bars like prisoners, The Architect still feels stagebound, inert when it needs to be cinematic.

December 8, 2006 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Architect


this movie is hard to rate. its very story driven which is good, and the stories that are presented are very good. the telling of the stories however is not good at all. this film follows the unfortunate indi film trend of leaving a story incomplete at the end. the problem is that this film is only 1hr and 11 min. they could have used another 30 min to finish telling the stories. much of the diologue is unexplained and doesnt seem to fit the story and some of the actions of the characters have no context so they dont make sense. i give it a decent rating on potential, hayden is good in this flick and the movie could have been great with more time.

danny d
danny d

Super Reviewer

[font=Century Gothic]In "The Architect," a long time resident, Tonya Neely(Viola Davis), of the Eden Court housing projects on the south side of Chicago has come to the conclusion that the inadequately repaired, poorly built, gang infested buildings are beyond hope and wishes to see them torn down.(Her son commited suicide a few years back. One daughter, Cammie(Serena Reeder), lives elsewhere while attending high school. Another, Missy(Marsha Stephanie Blake) already has a baby of her own.) She even tries to get the original architect, Leo Waters(Anthony LaPaglia), to help but he declines, not seeing a problem...[/font] [font=Century Gothic]"The Architect" is a slight but intriguing movie about the difference between reform and revolution. In this case, it is the difference between continually repairing the projects or tearing them down and starting from scratch.(Tonya never does say what she wants to replace the projects with.) If I remember my urban history right, housing projects were built with the best of intentions but they also destroyed the cohesion of neighborhoods. Leo does not admit that there is a problem with the buildings he designed while not noticing his family falling apart around him.(Thus, saving the movie from the dreaded "rich white folks have problems, too" syndrome.) But we never get a true sense of what it is to live in these projects. [/font]

Walter M.
Walter M.

Super Reviewer


This movie was one of those films that came and went. Nobody probably saw it--and that's a shame! Granted, the suburban family drama has been done-to-death ever since the mesmerizing American Beauty (and no other suburban drama could live up to it--except for Little Children) but this movie is a valiant effort in this genre. It has undertones of the struggle that children of a dysfunctional family have to put up. Worrying about pimples before prom isn't good enough for films like this. You have to be sexually confused, insecure about your breasts and worried that your dad is "perving" on you. As for the parents themselves, Isabella Rossellini plays the sullen, emotionally-unbalanced housewife to a tee. She is great. And Anthony LaPaglia--as the architect you has to deal with the crumbling infrastructure of his household along with the crumbling structure he built for low-income families--is understated and captivating in his performance. The film has a solid script and some arresting social commentaries to convey. It just feels a little watered-down and I think that comes from having only a handful of characters. It feels more like something that could've been a better stage play; rather than a feature-length film. Still, the movie is worth watching; if you can catch it on DVD in the coming months! It's nice to see little gems that never see the light of day or people may or may not have ever heard about. On a side note, I happened to see this movie at a theatre that used a BlueRay DVD player. Let me say that this technology is mind-blowing. It's a shame this movie wasn't a special-effects flick because the visuals would've been out of this world. It is the most crystal clear image of film I have ever seen. No pixelation, no blurriness or scratches to worry about. Pure digital heaven.

Rico Zamora
Rico Zamora

Super Reviewer

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