The Shipping News (2001)

LASSE HALLSTROM

Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB

USA/Canada2001.  Miramax.  Screenplay by , based on the novel by .  Cinematography by . Produced by , , .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  Golden Globe Awards 2001.  National Board of Review Awards 2001.  

Disappointing adaptation of E. Annie Proulx’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. Kevin Spacey is riveting as a Poughkeepsie newspaper ink-setter whose life does a complete reversal when his estranged aunt (Judi Dench) shows up and takes him to their ancestral home in Newfoundland, following the death of his unfaithful wife (Cate Blanchett).  He gets a job as a reporter for the local paper, falls in love with a beautiful widow (Julianne Moore) and discovers new strengths in himself that he never thought existed, all the while learning more and more family secrets that heretofore he had no idea about. Spacey’s careful performance and insistence on not overdoing any personal moments is a real strength for this kind of intimate family story, but Lasse Hallstrom fails to direct the film to a real climax and so the movie ends after barely making it past the first act. It is gorgeously photographed, though, and Moore is incredibly lovely as a woman with a few secrets of her own.

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