It’s a story and a movie told imperfectly, and yet at the same time it packs a real emotional wallop. This is largely thanks to the effort and care that Perelman expends in giving nurture and breathing room to his two leading performers, Ben Kingsley, an actor that is consistently and rivetingly watchable, and the still-emerging Jennifer Connelly, whose beauty might be otherwise too distracting if not for her ability to communicate a completely convincing melancholy.
Looking at these these performances and comparing them to the absurd Oscar-bait showmanship released this past holiday season, I realize how special they are; for all their flaws, they’re not vanity roles by any means. They are roles with real, substantive challenges, and they are performed with significant if imperfect commitment. As a result, I felt genuinely embroiled in “House of Sand and Fog,” which is something I’m pretty sure I haven’t felt while watching a Hollywood movie in quite some time.