Win Win [Blu-ray]  [US Import]
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The movie lures you into a false sense of security as it shows a normal middle class New Jersey family all while playing an acoustical "indy" guitar. Paul Giamatti plays a lawyer who isn't doing too well financially (apparently he doesn't handle bankruptcies). He has an aged rich client Leo Poplar, (Burt Young, Pauly from Rocky) who is in the early stages of dementia. Unable to contact Leo's daughter in Ohio (we later find out she was in rehab) he goes to court and gets appointed as his legal guardian/caretaker. The state was going to place Leo in a care facility, however Giamatti convinces the judge Leo would be better at home and agrees to take care of Leo at home...for the $1500 a month fee. As it turns out Giamatti was dishonest (not a lawyer!) and puts Leo in a home anyway, telling him it was the judge's orders.
As fate would have it, Kyle, Leo's 16 year old grandson from Ohio is sitting on his doorstop as Paul drives by. He takes Kyle in temporarily. Paul also coaches the HS wrestling team which doesn't win matches. As it turns out Kyle is a ringer. When Kyle's hated mother shows up, she throws a wrench into the works as Paul's deception has become uncovered.
The characters in the story are realistic, they all have flaws that must be dealt with. When they have an opportunity to redeem themselves, like a good Disney flick they all take it. As a family film, I have to question some things. The movie drops the F bomb in stages. Kyle runs away from home in Ohio and takes the bus. Kyle at one point pushes his mother down on a bed and holds her down in anger.
The acting was great. Alex Schaffer did a good job as Kyle. Heart warming and funny at times. Highly recommend.
Win Win is another Omega-male drama, but Giamatti's performance is sublime and brings a level of humanity to the role that is largely unparalleled. Alex Schaffer's performance as the monosyllabic Kyle is amazing, he literally couldn't have improved on his rendition. As the interactions between Mike and Kyle go from initially hostile to fatherly, he realises that Kyle is now his priority and quite frankly - screw the commission, because this is about people and their capacity to care for each other. Whether it's dementia-suffering grandpa Leo, angsty lost-soul Kyle or even the venomous drug-addicted mother - Mike shows compassion and care to all of them, on top of his wife & kids, in a myriad of ways that - I'm slightly ashamed to say - are real tear-jerkers.Read more ›
The story is powered by a fine performance from Giamatti. It would be too easy to descend into uncomfortable schmaltz, but he anchors it in reality, making a moving and believable character. The ever dependable Burt Young is on fine form as the slightly confused old man and his appearance is a real highlight of the film. It's all a bit low key, but is a fine film that keeps you interested for it's run time, and shows people for what they really are while never being preachy. It also has some fine comic moments, so what more could you really ask? 4 stars.
Indeed, if I were to imagine Giamatti’s 'loser’ Miles Raymond from Sideways, now married and with a family, he would likely be McCarthy’s central character here – kind-hearted, but still (a little) frustrated with his lot and hoping to get by using his 'scam’. But when Alex Shaffer’s abandoned and laid-back teen (and grandson of Mike’s client, Burt Young’s Leo), Kyle, suddenly appears, we know things are destined to become more 'complicated’ for Flaherty. McCarthy’s film here begins to morph into a 'Rocky-like’ narrative as Kyle reveals his talent for wrestling, thereby turning round the fortunes of (part-time trainer) Flaherty’s local club – much to the delight of 'co-trainers’ Jeffrey Tambor’s bumbling 'Vig’ and Bobby Cannavale’s smart-talking, 'flash harry’ (the equivalent of Thomas Haden Church’s Jack from Sideways), Terry – as well as being 'adopted’ into the Flaherty family (after initial reluctance) by Mike’s wife, Jackie, the impressive Amy Ryan.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Thomas McCarthy is at the moment worth following. Let's hope he continues in this vein.Published 19 months ago by C.Laidlaw
I had to remind myself why 'Win Win' was on my 'films to watch' list. Looking at imdb I remembered that it's directed by the actor/director Thomas McCarthy and he directed 'The... Read morePublished on 20 July 2014 by Amazon Customer
I watched this movie with my 17year old nephew. We enjoyed the movie enormously. The movie took sometime to build up but we persisted and found the movie inspiring.Published on 7 July 2014 by Sceptic
the movie is one that you probably wouldn't watch again, enjoyable enough to watch once but not one for the "to be viewed again" pile.Published on 2 Aug. 2013 by sliverfox