Director: Tom McCarthy Writers: Tom McCarthy & Joe Tiboni Tom McCarthy, acclaimed writer/director of The Visitor and The Station Agent, once again explores the depths and nuances of human relationships in his new film about the allegiances and bonds between unlikely characters. Cast: Paul Giamatti, Amy Ryan, Bobby Cannavale, Jeffrey Tambor, Burt Young, Melanie Lynskey, Alex Schaffer, Margo Martindale, David Thompson
WHO'S IT FOR? If you like "family" films with some adult language sprinkled in, this is for you. The reason I say "family" is because it's not just about the parents and the kids, thankfully.
Sometimes the hardest thing to capture on the big screen is what we think should be the easiest ... authentic life. Win Win nails it. The relationship between Mike and Jackie is one of the more realistic, loving friendship/partnership/marriages I've seen in recent memory. Watching Mike and Terry find passion in wrestling is addictive whether you care about the sport or not. And Shaffer. My goodness. This kid is a force. He absolutely nails what it is to be a teenager with angst. I loved his performance and directors and kid actors out there should try to realize less is more with kids, and Win Win gets that right.
Normally, I put a lot of stock in the first ten minutes of a film. I've talked about it recently with Red Riding Hood. With Win Win I was a little worried. There wasn't much of a path or hook besides a guy struggling with money. At first Burt Young's Leo seems to be a distraction. Be patient. Giamatti tones it down slightly, Schaffer is fantastic to watch. The entire cast is a joy. It truly feels like a great big dysfunctional loving family. Win Win is worth the wait, and truly is a victory.
FINAL SCORE: 8/10