Movie Review: Win Win

Posted: April 10, 2011 in movie reviews, movies
Tags: , , , , ,

Win Win

Paul Giamatti, Amy Ryan, Jeffrey Tambor


I went into Win Win, not knowing much about it. It was a Sundace Film, a lot of people liked it, and I might cry. Well, I didn’t cry, but I did enjoy the movie.

There are certain moments in life, where you’re not so much concerned about living life, so much as you are surviving it. Mike Flaherty (Paul Giamatti) is stuck. He lives in a small town, gets up, eats breakfast, kisses his slightly overbearing wife (Amy Ryan), goes to work as a lawyer in his dying practice, coaches high school wrestling,  lives in a small town, works as a lawyer in a dying practice, and tries to figure out how he’s going to pay his bills with his diminishing money.

One day, Flaherty decides to become the guardian of one of his clients (Jeffrey Tambor) who’s suffering from dementia in order to collect the caretaker money. The client’s grandson, who ran away from his mother (Melanie Lynskey) shows up and Flaherty and his family have no choice but to take him in. It turns out taking him in wasn’t only good for the kid, but it was good for Flaherty and his family as well.

Sure the movie was predictable. It was set up in a way where you knew exactly how it was going to go wrong, but that still didn’t mean I didn’t want to know how it was going to go down. Sometimes a movie doesn’t have to be flashy or twisty with a complicated plot. Sometimes a movie can be funny, sweet, and intriguing, and what makes you continue to watch is not to figure out the pieces to the puzzle, but to make sure these characters are going to be okay.

Paul Giamatti is good, like coming home after 14 hours of standing and putting your feet up on the coffee table good. And while all the characters are deeply flawed, their flaws are actually what make them great by the end of the movie. Take for instance, Flaherty’s wife, played by Amy Ryan. At first she seems strict and overbearing, but those qualities actually make her a fantastic mother because she does it out of love. She’s tough, but in a good way because you know she’s just kicking your ass to make you a better person. Bobby Cannavale, played Flaherty’s sidekick/friend. Though Cannavale tends to play the same character in everything he does, he played that same character extremely well in this movie. He brought a lightness that rounded out the film nicely.

Overall, this movie had a quiet brilliance, with some heartwarming moments that make you feel gooey inside. I left this theater with a smile, feeling satisfied. And that’s more than most movies provide.

Rating: 3 ½ stars.


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