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  Publicity Stills of
"Winter Passing"

Genre: Drama
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.

Movie Review:

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.

Reese 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.

If 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.

Unintentionally, 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.

What 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.

The 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 scenes.

What 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.

Winter 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.

Movie Rating:

(A small gem of a movie that’s worth savouring.)

Review by Casandra Wong


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. Stranger Than Fiction (2006)



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