A Master Builder

Synopsis: A successful, ego-maniacal architect who has spent a lifetime bullying his wife, employees and mistresses wants to make peace as his life approaches its final act.
Genre: Drama
Director(s): Jonathan Demme
Production: Abramorama Entertainment
  1 nomination.
Rotten Tomatoes:
130 min


It's probably any time after that.

But he seems so healthy.

Does he know?

- Mr. Brovik?

- What? What?

Can you all come into the office now,

please? Mr. Solness just woke up.

Thank... thank you.

I don't know how much longer

I'll be able to stand this.

God, you haven't been

looking well all afternoon.


I think it's getting worse every day.

M-Maybe this isn't a good time, Father.

Maybe... you should

just go home and try to sleep a little.

You mean just lie down

and get a little rest?

When I lie down, that...

that other thing starts...

the choking.

So, has anyone been here looking for me?


That young couple came by.

You know, the people who want

to build the villa out by the lake.

They've already been here

two or three times this week.

Well, they're gonna have to wait.

I'm not sure about the design.

Well, they kept saying

that it's terribly important...

that they get the drawings soon.

s that right?

Well, they said they were just so eager...

to move into their own place.

A place. A place to move into.

That's not the same as a home.

Don't they see that?

Well, it's absolutely fine...

but then they should go

to somebody else, leave me out of it.

Why don't you just tell them that

when they come back next time?

Go to somebody else?

Do you... honestly mean that?

Yes, I do, for God's sake.

They want me to just put up a building...

without taking the time

to work out a meaningful design.

I mean, I don't even

really know these people.

They're very good people.

Ragnar knows them.

He's visited them often.

Everyone here at Lovestrand...

wants a building designed by me...

as a sort of symbol of prestige.

Well, I'm sick of it. I don't want to deal

with strangers anymore.

Let them go to anyone they like.

I really don't care.

do you think we might

have a few moments...

to discuss something in private?

Of course.

- Will you give us a minute, dear?

- I don't...

Please, Ragnar,

just give us a moment alone.

Come on, Kaya.

I... I don't want the children

to know how sick I am.

Yes, you've been looking...

awfully weak recently.

I'm not going to be around much longer.

That's the reality.

Each day I seem

to lose something or other...

one more faculty.

It's all going... all my strength.


You see, what weighs on me

so terribly is...

what's going to become of Ragnar?

Well, I mean, he can stay here with me

for as long as he likes.

You see, apparently, he feels

that he just can't stay any longer.

What are you saying?

Does he want a raise?


It's more that the day has to come...

when he'll have the opportunity

to do his own work.

I see.

And are you positive that he has...

all the particular qualities

he would need for that?


That's what's so awful.

I'm not positive.

Even I, myself, have begun

to doubt his abilities.

But you have never said

one single encouraging word about him.

But I know in my heart

that he is talented.

But he just hasn't fully

mastered that much of the discipline.

I mean, he knows how to draw.

You hadn't mastered that much

of the discipline either...

when you were working for me.

But that didn't stop you from...

plunging in...

And seizing the moment...

and making a tremendous impression

on everyone.

No. It didn't stop you

from luring away the wind...

that was in my sails at the time.

It didn't stop you from just rushing past

everyone around you.

Yes, it worked out that way, didn't it?

Yes. It did.

That's the way it worked out.

Seriously, you can't...

You can't let me go to my grave...

without having a chance...

to see what Ragnar can make of himself.

He needs to be married.

Is that what Kaya wants?


maybe she's a little less passionate

about it than he is...

but Ragnar talks about it all day long.

He needs to be married...

and I need to see some work

that my boy has done.

Yes, but...

I can't bring commissions

down out of the sky for him.

He could obtain

an excellent commission right now...

as a matter of fact...

an important project,

something really worthwhile.

- He could?

- Yes, he could.

If you would give your permission.

And what project is that?

He could build the villa out at the lake.


But I'm going to be doing

that project myself.

But you no longer

have any desire to do it.

I no longer have any desire to do it?

Who in the world had the audacity

to tell you that?


You said it yourself two minutes ago.

For God's sake, I was joking.

But seriously...

could Ragnar really get that commission?

Yes. He knows the family well.

Actually, for his own amusement,

he did do a few sketches...

of some things he might do...

a few drawings, a few estimates.

And you think that the family

was pleased by these drawings?

Yes, yes.

I mean, if you would simply

give your approval.

Then they'd actually let Ragnar

complete the building?

Well, they... they liked...

they liked what he proposed

to them very much.

They said they thought it was original...

something really new.

I see.

Really new.

Not like the sort

of very conventional buildings...

that I always build...

with their flavor of the past?

Look, look, look, y-you're...

So, it was actually Ragnar

they came here to see.

No, no. They... They came

to see you, really.

Really, they did. They simply...

They simply wanted to know...

- if you might be willing to step aside...

- Step aside?

In case you found

that Ragnar's drawings...

To step aside for Ragnar?

They simply meant, you know,

to take your name.

No. I understand what they meant.

Well, well.

So the moment has come...

when Halvard Solness

starts to "step aside"...

to make way for those who are younger.

That's wonderful.

But surely...

there's room for more

than one single solitary...

No, no, no. Not really.

No, there isn't

as much room as you think.

In any case, it's irrelevant...

because I'm not going to step aside.

So... am I really going

to leave this earth...

without the happiness,

w-without the conf...

I mean, am I going to go to my grave...

without being able to see

a single piece of work...

that's been done by my boy?

You're gonna leave this world...

with as much dignity...

as you can find in yourself.


What is it, Father?

We're going now.

I got him.

Well, Miss Fosli can't leave yet.

There's a letter that has to be written,

I'm afraid.

So... is there a letter?


Of course there isn't.

- Kaya.

- Yes?

Come over here.

Tell me what you want.

Are you the one I should thank

for this situation?

Please, you mustn't...

I mean, you're terribly eager

to be married, it seems.


Ragnar and I have been engaged

for four or five years.


He and his father keep talking about it...

and I suppose eventually

I'll have to give in.

And of course,

you have a certain affection for Ragnar?

I used to have a great deal

of affection for him...

before I came to work for you.

But you don't anymore?

I only care about one person... one.

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Henrik Ibsen

Henrik Johan Ibsen (; Norwegian: [ˈhenrik ˈipsn̩]; 20 March 1828 – 23 May 1906) was a Norwegian playwright, theatre director, and poet. As one of the founders of Modernism in theatre, Ibsen is often referred to as "the father of realism" and one of the most influential playwrights of his time. His major works include Brand, Peer Gynt, An Enemy of the People, Emperor and Galilean, A Doll's House, Hedda Gabler, Ghosts, The Wild Duck, When We Dead Awaken, Pillars of Society, The Lady from the Sea, Rosmersholm, The Master Builder, and John Gabriel Borkman. He is the most frequently performed dramatist in the world after Shakespeare, and by the early 20th century A Doll's House became the world's most performed play.Several of his later dramas were considered scandalous to many of his era, when European theatre was expected to model strict morals of family life and propriety. Ibsen's later work examined the realities that lay behind many façades, revealing much that was disquieting to many contemporaries. It utilized a critical eye and free inquiry into the conditions of life and issues of morality. The poetic and cinematic early play Peer Gynt, however, has strong surreal elements.Ibsen is often ranked as one of the most distinguished playwrights in the European tradition. Richard Hornby describes him as "a profound poetic dramatist—the best since Shakespeare". He is widely regarded as the most important playwright since Shakespeare. He influenced other playwrights and novelists such as George Bernard Shaw, Oscar Wilde, Arthur Miller, James Joyce, Eugene O'Neill, and Miroslav Krleža. Ibsen was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1902, 1903, and 1904.Ibsen wrote his plays in Danish (the common written language of Denmark and Norway during his lifetime) and they were published by the Danish publisher Gyldendal. Although most of his plays are set in Norway—often in places reminiscent of Skien, the port town where he grew up—Ibsen lived for 27 years in Italy and (Germany), and rarely visited Norway during his most productive years. Born into a merchant family connected to the patriciate of Skien, Ibsen shaped his dramas according to his family background. He was the father of Prime Minister Sigurd Ibsen. Ibsen's dramas continue in their influence upon contemporary culture and film. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "A Master Builder" Scripts.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 24 Jul 2024. <https://www.scripts.com/script/a_master_builder_1964>.

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