7 Under-the-Radar Movies Every Home-Obsessive Should Watch
There is not, at press time, an Oscar for best onscreen abode. But, with new the Best Popular Film category joining the Academy’s prestigious lineup, now could be the perfect time to add one. In the past few years, cinema has given us glimpses into some pretty cool houses. Some, like the ultra-modern robo-mansion from “Ex Machina,” may be easy frontrunners, while others have flown under the radar. Here are our dark horse picks for the purely hypothetic Best House in Movie award, all of which you can stream right now–for research or personal inspiration–in the comfort of your own home.
The Metaphorical Mansion in “mother!”
You wouldn’t know it from the exterior, but the lonesome Victorian manor occupied by the nameless protagonists of Darren Aronofsky’s “mother!” is an octagon—which is a metaphor for… something. Symbolism aside, over the course of the film we see the house’s inhabitants steadily renovate it from hollow shell to tasteful, rustic retreat. Well, Javier Bardem owns the place but Jennifer Lawrence, his young wife, seems to do most of the work.
Available to stream in late August 2018 on Hulu and Amazon Prime.
The Lakeside Refuge in “Arrival”
When she’s not deciphering alien languages, Dr. Louise Banks (Amy Adams) hangs her orange hazmat suit in this charming Canadian lake house. Shot on location in Quebec, the house seems tailor-made for reclusive bookworms like Banks: how better to enjoy a stack of linguistic theses than ensconced in a Marcel Breuer chair, with panoramic views of Lake of Two Mountains?
The Cliffside Rendezvous in “Hail, Caesar!”
While many of “Hail, Caesar!”‘s set pieces were rich with kitsch, the mid-century mansion where superstar Baird Whitlock (George Clooney) is held ransom couldn’t be more elegant. The house bears a striking resemblance to Frank Lloyd Wright’s Clinton Della Walker Residence, a similarly sophisticated, modern abode perched—just like its in-movie counterpart—on a majestic stretch of California coast. It’s exactly the kind of place where you might expect a shady cabal of screenwriters to meet up, plotting their conspiracies around a huge, Craftsman fireplace.
The London Townhouse in “Phantom Thread”
Reynolds Woodcock’s (Daniel Day Lewis) Georgian townhouse has such an intense presence in “Phantom Thread” that it gets its own theme on the (Oscar-snubbed) soundtrack. The house—which doubles as Woodcock’s dressmaking studio—is much larger than the film’s claustrophobic camerawork suggests, clocking in at more 10,000 square feet. It was up for sale earlier this year for a cool £15 million ($19 million), but is no longer on the market.
All the Modernist Gems in “Columbus”
Like the Indiana town it’s named after and set in, Columbus is flush with architectural gems. Young architecture buff Casey (Haley Lu Richardson) is well positioned to take in the best of it, leading out-of-towner Jin (John Cho) a tour of the Miller House—Eero Saarinen’s Mid-Century modern masterpiece—and emotionally pacing around the eclectically-styled bungalow she shares with her mother.
Available to stream on Hulu.
The Californian Hacienda in “Home Again”
This luxurious Bay Area compound oozes old-school cinematic style—and not just because it was owned (in real life) by both Cindy Crawford and Jennifer Garner. In the movie, it’s left to Alice Kinney (Reese Witherspoon) by her famous filmmaker father, the gorgeous hacienda provides refuge for Alice and her two daughters in the wake of separating from her husband and stumbling into a relationship with a younger man (the dashing Pico Alexander). Directed by Hallie Meyers-Shyer (Nancy Meyers’s daughter), this film is ample proof that penchant for design runs in the family.
The Austin Bungalow in “Mr. Roosevelt”
When the cat she owned with her now-ex boyfriend falls ill, Emily (Noël Wells) rushes back to her hometown of Austin, Texas—crashing with said ex, Eric (Nick Thune), and his stylish new girlfriend, Celeste (Britt Lower) in the process. But while she may seem a little overbearing to Emily, there’s no faulting Celeste’s taste in interior design: The house she shares with Eric looks straight out of a Pinterest board, full of tastefully-curated knickknacks in clean, minimal arrangements.
Available to stream on Netflix.