Two Family House

Director: Raymond DeFelitta
Screenwriters: Raymond DeFelitta

Institute History

  • 2000 Sundance Film Festival


The 1950s are often remembered idealistically as a time of innocence, but Two Family House beautifully explores the notion that after innocence comes the inevitable reality of maturity. Buddy Visalo is a factory worker on Staten Island, a frustrated crooner who once had a shot at the big time. Buddy’s dreams of greatness have been reduced to an endless series of failed moneymaking schemes. His latest is buying a two-family house for him and his wife and converting the ground floor into a neighborhood bar where he can perform. The wrench in the works is that he also inherits the upstairs tenants, a pregnant Irish girl fresh off the boat and her abusive, alcoholic husband. As Buddy’s gang of Italians tries to handle the situation, the girl goes into labor, and a baby is born, forcing them all to confront the limits of their tolerance and compassion.

Writer/director Raymond DeFelitta captures the essence of this period with a poignant tale of personal growth that is refreshingly different from usual reminiscences of this decade. Two Family House becomes an abridged version of the American dream. All the characters have that wholesome fifties glow, but the dialogue peppered with ethnic slang and their actions that constantly deviate from the expected give the film real heart and soul. Buddy is the man caught in the middle between duty and passion. Through him, we learn the journey from nice guy to hero can be a rocky road pitted with human fallibility and complex choices.

Screening Details

Sundance Film Festival Awards

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