A Lion in the House


Top 20% of all time (see others with this rank)

Festival Year

2006 (click here to see all competition films from this year)


Documentary Competition

Non-Cast Credits

Sally Jo Fifer, Steven Bognar, Julia Reichert, Kevin Jones, Mary Lampson, James Klein, Jaime Meyers, Charles Engstrom


In the late 1990s, the chief oncologist at Cincinnati Children's Hospital contacted award-winning documentarians Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert and invited them to follow five children and their families navigating the ups and downs of cancer treatment. The result is a deeply compassionate, moving story of hope, love, and human resilience. The strength of this extraordinary documentary rests in the fact that, while providing a comprehensive view of life on an oncology ward, including profiles of the doctors, nurses, and staff who become champions for the children they care for, the film also ventures outside the hospital and explores the unique personal life of each child -- his or her hopes, fears, and relationships with siblings and other family members. As a result, a complex portrait of each family's individual journey emerges. While a single mother contends with labyrinthine insurance forms, another parent grapples with a healthy sibling who sometimes feels ignored. As the chemotherapy cycles come to an end, one family faces the agonizing question of when to stop fighting, while others attempt an uneasy return to "normal" life. A gripping, intimate look at the lives of Tim, Al, Jenny, Justin, and Alex, A Lion in the House celebrates the enormous strength and bravery of these heroic children.


Elizabeth Richardson (see other films reviewed by the same reviewer)

Film Takes Pace.