|SiGN UP! join
the DigsNews mailing list + we'll keep you posted about updates and other DIGS-related news .
any good movies lately?
and recommend it.
support digs ... shop for movies and more at the digsShop, or donate to digs directly!
Reese Holden is a young actress living alone in New
York, beginning to find some small success on the stage even as
her personal life continues to be a train wreck of drugs, loser
guys and depression. After one of her shows, a well-dressed older
woman approaches her. Introducing herself as a book editor, she
offers Reese a good chunk of money if Reese can procure a set of
love letters that her recently deceased famous writer mom once
exchanged with her even more famous, very reclusive writer dad,
Don Holden. Turns out that Reese’s mom willed her the letters upon
her death -- though this is news to Reese, who’s been estranged
from her family for years -- and the literary world is very keen
to publish them. Though she’s reluctant to get back in touch with
her dad, the money ultimately sways her, and soon, Reese finds
herself on a bus ride back to the family home in Michigan. There,
she finds her father living in the garage, looking like a madman,
and acting just as unhinged. The main house, meanwhile, is occupied
by two folks Reese has never seen before in her life: an awkward,
Christian-rock-loving man-child, Corbit, who serves as a sort of
caretaker for the grounds and fends off Don’s literary groupees,
as well as a young, pretty Brit named Shelly, who used to be one
Don’s writing students, and now oversees the cooking and housework.
As Reese surreptitiously starts scouring for the letters, she finds
herself getting to know her dad’s new housemates, and confronting
her long-repressed issues with her Dad and upbringing as well.
at the DVD cover for Winter Passing, and you’re likely to assume
it’s a quirky comedy of the Wes Anderson variety. You’ve got four
people, possibly family, looking kinda funny and staring deadpan
serious into the camera as they’re squeezed into a box of a room.
And one of these folks is Will Ferrell. Sounds like the perfect set-up
for some good laughs, no? As it turns out, though, Winter
Passing isn’t a comedy. At all. Dealing with themes of death, and depression,
and disconnectedness, it’s actually fairly serious dramatic stuff.
This might make for some pretty dismal, woe-is-me viewing, if it
weren’t for the fact that first-time writer-director Adam Rapp turns
out to have some talent for getting us to think about all these issues
without hitting us over the head with histrionics and sentimentality.
Instead, he focuses on developing the main characters, all of whom
are fragile and flawed and nicely layered. The acting is beautiful,
from Zooey Deschanel as acerbic Reese, to Ed Harris as the grieving
mad genius writer Don, to Amelia Warner as the quiet English girl
whose outer sweetness hides real strength. But the big surprise is
Will Ferrell, whose Corbit ends up being the character you feel for
the most. It’s not an entire departure from his usual man-child persona,
but for once, Ferrell doesn’t play the character for laughs, showing
that he’s not just a funnyman but an actor with real potential. Meanwhile,
Rapp gives his talented cast good dialogue to work with, a terrific
soundtrack (featuring indie faves like Cat Power and the Shins),
and achingly lovely cinematography (the wintry Michigan landscape
should maybe get billing as the fifth star of the movie). Its ending
is probably a little too neat, the pacing just a tad bit slow, but
there’s enough that’s right about this quiet, unassuming little movie
that you’d be smart not to let it pass by.—reviewed
by Yee-Fan Sun
lounge . nourish
. host .
. home .