April 7, 2011

Win Win - 2011

Director: Thomas McCarthy
Writer: Thomas McCarthy
Starring: Paul Giamatti, Amy Ryan, Alex Shaffer, Burt Young, Bobby Cannavale, Jeffrey Tambor, Melanie Lynskey

After becoming a guardian for one of his clients with early-onset dementia, lawyer/high school wrestling coach Mike Flaherty (Giamatti) must also deal with the client's teenage grandson Kyle (Shaffer) when he appears on his grandfather's doorstep out of the blue. Things only get worse for Flaherty and his family when the boy's until-now missing, drug-addicted mother (Lynskey) shows up, suddenly wanting an active role in the life of her father and her son.

Courtesy of Fox Searchlight, the next great indie dramedy is upon us, and its name is Win Win. Also thanks to that wonderful distributor, I got to see this film before it came out anywhere in our area. Giamatti proves his worth as an actor once again, offering up an unforgettable performance as one of those troubled protagonists you almost find yourself rooting against. Amy Ryan, who many would recognize from Ben Affleck's directorial debut Gone Baby Gone, is a great match for Giamatti, and the two share a great onscreen chemistry. Most of the script's comedic moments (which are nothing short of hilarious) are brought to life through Tambor and Cannavale as Giamatti's business parter/co-coach and divorced best friend, respectively. However, the true gem in this movie is Alex Shaffer. This was the first time he'd ever been put in front of a camera professionally, and he's not just one of the most realistic teen performances I've ever seen. This guy's going to be the Jennifer Lawrence of 2011--comes out of nowhere, but ends up being very in demand in no time at all. My only complaint with this movie? Not getting a free T-shirt at the showing. A+

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