The moment I sat down in the theatre and saw the beginning of Win Win, I wanted to run out. I just figured, in the first 5 minutes, that it was a tough film about a family struggling to survive a situation that they didn‘t deserve. I was depressed. The plot was too life-like to be comfortable.
But after watching Paul Giamatti – one of Hollywood’s few great supporting actors – do his work, I was hooked. And it was a pleasant shock to see Giamatti starring for a change.
What I saw was a movie about a family in trouble. The head of the family (Paul Giamatti) is a lawyer with too few clients and a wife (Amy Ryan), no kids, and a father with Alzheimer’s. How father solves this not uncommon mess, is sad but ingenious. Here are some clues:
1. A high school wrestling team which opens the door to comedy
2. A runaway teenage wrestler
3. The teenager’s mother, a beautiful but incredible bitch, played by Melonie Lynskey (watch for her, and hope her huge talent conquers her name)
4. Add 3 grown men playing the trainers of the young wrestlers, (2 are known character actors and one is Paul Giamatti).
Not only do they solve all their problems, they do it without a bad move, and with a bag of laughs, and tears.
It’s a tough, old fashioned movie, but a very good one. The author and the director is Thomas McCarthy, who I congratulate. At the Camelot. On my famous Whoopee Whistle scale, I give this flick 3 whistles!