YMMV / The House of the Spirits

  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Is Esteban a complex (very wrong) antagonist who has his own reasons? Or is he a badly written, Lifetime Movie type villain who exists simply to Kick the Dog every five minutes?
    • Clara. Strong, independent (even if she's a bit of a Cloud Cuckoo Lander) female character? Or is she simply a manipulative Canon Sue who isn't nearly as saintly as she is intended to be?
  • Anvilicious: The main ones being "SOCIALISM IS GREAT!" "FEMINISM!" and "All Men Are Perverts"
  • Big Lipped Alligator Moment: As part of the Magical Realism of the novel we have Barrabas, the dog who won't stop growing. While he never gets to Clifford the Big Red Dog levels, the reader is treated to an...interesting subversion of Bigger Is Better in Bed which has absolutely nothing to do with the story and is never mentioned again.
  • Evil Counterpart: Esteban Garcìa may also be this to his grandpa Esteban Trueba.
  • Ho Yay / Homoerotic Subtext: Clara and Ferula form a very 'close' bond. Ferula feels guilty about her obsession with Clara and even goes to confession because of it. Esteban Trueba ends up noticing this and accuses Ferula of being a lesbian and trying to steal his wife and kicks her out of the house. Clara's 'monologue' to Ferula as she prepares her body for burial sounds very close to an Anguished Declaration of Love at points. The book never clarifies whether or not their relationship is simply a Romantic Two-Girl Friendship or a non-platonic relationship.
  • Idiot Ball: Blanca, your husband was an extremely effeminate man who straight up told you he didn't want to have sex with you. What were you expecting?
  • Magnificent Bastard: Arguably, Esteban Trueba.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Esteban García repeatedly rapes Alba. Not only rapes her, but does so while mocking her for being a Trueba.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: The movie faithfully presents the main storyline, personalities and motivations, but compresses a lot of the plot and removes about half of the characters. Events on the book unfold for about 50 years, but the movie storyline lasts 30 at most. The most noticeable changes are that Nicolás and Jaime are removed, and the plots of Blanca and Alba are compressed on the former. Alba still appears, but only as a small girl instead of her young adult incarnation.
  • Squick: Quite a bit of it, but almost nothing can top the description of Esteban's mother Ester's putrified legs when Esteban returns to her. It's so horrible that it's Esteban, normally a super stoic and macho Jerk Ass, pretty much collapses in Berserker Tears when he leaves the room, launching into an angry and frustrated rant about how he's powerless to do anything for his mother's sake even after ten years of working himself sick to finally pull the Truebas out of poverty.
    • Nearly all of the graphic sex scenes. Mostly due to the fact that almost all of them are nonconsensual.
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not Political?
  • What The Hell, Casting Agency??: White actors Meryl Streep, Jeremy Irons, Glenn Close and Winona Ryder as the main roles of Clara, Esteban, Ferula and Blanca. They were surrounded by almost all Latin-American people in the background. Granted they are meant to be rich high class people, who in Latin-America tend to be much whiter than the rest of the population, but still.
  • The Woobie: Waaaay too many.