Director: Adam Rapp
Cast: Ed Harris, Zooey Deschanel, Will Ferrell,
Amelia Warner, Rachel Dratch, Amy Madigan
RunTime: 1 hr 40 mins
Rating: M18 (Scene of Intimacy)
Official Website: http://www.winterpassing-movie.com/
A dramatic comedy by award-winning playwright Adam Rapp, "Winter
Passing" charts the fractious reunion of an estranged
father and daughter. Struggling twenty-something actress Reese
Holden (Zooey Deschanel) has been promised a small fortune
for publication of love letters written by her legendary,
but reclusive father, novelist Don Holden (Ed Harris), to
his late wife, also an acclaimed writer and Reese's mother.
In search of these letters, Reese journeys from New York City
back home for the first time since her angst filled childhood,
she arrives to find her father in flagrant disregard of his
own health and living with two younger housemates: Shelly
(Amelia Warner), a former grad student of Don's with a maternal
streak and the other, Corbit (Will Ferrell) a would-be Christian
rock musician. Though no angel herself, Reese does not approve
of her father's ad-hoc "family" and does her best
to rattle the arrangement they have set up. Little by little,
Reese comes to appreciate her unlikely new siblings and as
secrets are revealed, Reese comes to terms with her father,
their shared past and hopeful future.
Winter Passing is the kind of movie that you probably wouldn’t
hear of, and therefore, possibly wouldn’t even watch.
Sadly, it’s the kind (the brilliant kind) of movie that
deserves more than its marketing and publicity team can afford.
Holden (played by the wonderfully endearing Zooey Deschanel)
is a twenty-something year old typical “Gen-X”-er:
depressed, directionless but talented and artistically inclined.
And oh, self-inflicts pain after having point-blank senseless,
emotionless sex while high on cocaine.
you think that the movie will spiral into a typical coming-of-age
(albeit belated) and self-discovery through love kind of film,
you are not that far from wrong. However, the situation that
Reese finds herself in, is pretty interesting and unorthodox,
as you will soon discover.
The dreary monotony in her life is disrupted by a monetary
offer made by a publishing agent for a bunch of love letters
that were recently willed to her by her deceased mother. These
were exchanged between her deceased mother, a famous has-been
author, and her father, yet another famous has-been author
as well, Don Holdin (Ed Harris). Estranged from what sounds
like highly dysfunctional parents, she is at first unwilling
to venture home, but relents when she needs cash, and when
she finds out that there is nothing left for her to stay.
she makes a long-awaited journey into her past, and discovers
that many things have changed, to her surprise: her writer-daddy
now lives in the garage, a weak, temperamental and constantly
half-drunk hippie of sorts, and his two protégés
in the main house, Corbit (Will Ferrell in one of his better
roles), an eccentric and religious semi-glam rocker wannabe,
Shelly (Amelia Warner), a seemingly normal, and stuffy British
female. Reese’s intrusion into Don’s current “normal”
lifestyle triggers a series of interactions that changes all
of them in a small, yet, significant way.
drives the heart of the movie, other than the subject matter,
is the wacky cast of characters, sans Shelly (too uninteresting
and boring). Dan, Reese and Corbit are really quirky and strange,
borderline anti-social characters, and this is cleverly explored
in their conversations with each other (“What are those
pills for?” “Those were your mum’s. They
help me sleep. I hardly use them.”). The movie is littered
with funny, witty and humorous deadpanned one-liners, which
successfully lightens (or foreshadows, depending) the depressed
tone of the movie.
movie relies heavily on songs rather, and not scores or instrumental
music. It’s a pity really, because the movie could have
done better with more atmospheric music. However, the lyrics
of the songs featured suited the mood of the movie really
well, and enhanced some of the film’s most touching
is left to say? This movie is the kind that’s right
up my alley; a tat too slow for most, but it’s a wonderful,
simple story about how one can regain ground, even when one
has given up so many times, through re-discovering one’s
roots. It’s about hope, forgiveness, love, despair and
most of all, self-assurance.
Passing leaves you feeling a little wiser without… exactly
understanding why, but you know who cares? A definite must-see
for the very jaded Generation X.
(A small gem of a movie that’s worth savouring.)
Review by Casandra Wong