There’s a great little art picture out there.
You’ll probably miss it if you don’t know you
should look for it. Well, read below and decide
if there’s something out there worth watching in
the time that the big studios tend to use as
their dumping grounds.

Premise

A man, his daughter, and his aunt return to the
small Newfoundland
town his aunt was born in so they can put their
lives back together.
This movie is mainly a character piece, so I
won’t say more about the
plot.

Some of you may be wondering why a movie like
this is being reviewed
on a primarily sci-fi/fantasy website. Well, one
(possibly two) of the
main characters has some psychic abilities. I’d
say that qualifies as
fantasy. Plus, it’s a good movie that’s only had
limited release, so
you might miss it if you don’t know you should go
looking for it.

Cast, Crew, and Other Info

Kevin
Spacey
as
Quoyle
Julianne
Moore

as Wavey Prowse
Judi
Dench
as Agnis
Hamm
Cate
Blanchett
as
Petal Bear
Pete
Postlthwaite

as Tert Card
Rhys
Ifans
as
Beaufield Nutbeem
Gordon
Pinsent

as Billy Pretty
Alyssa,
Kaitlyn,
and Lauren
Gainer
as
Bunny Quoyle
Jason
Behr
as
Dennis Buggit

Directed by Lasse
Hallstrom

Screenplay by Robert
Nelson
Jacobs
based on a novel by E.
Annie
Proulx

The IMDB page is here.

High Point

Father Quoyle’s final resting place. It’s
funny at first, and
meaningful later.

Low Point

The predictable final scene. I saw it coming
half an hour into the
film. The good news is that it’s just a capper,
and knowing how it
ends doesn’t tell you what happens in between.

The Scores

For originality, I have to say that there
isn’t much here.
It’s a standard “bad luck now, signs of hope
later” kind of movie. 3
out of 6.

As far as visual effects are concerned,
there was only one
tricky one, right at the beginning. It was
passable, but it was
apparent where the boundaries of the inserted
image were. This kind
of effect has been around since Willow,
so there’s no reason
not to get it perfect. 3 out of 6.

As I said before, this is a character piece. As
such, the
story is somewhat thin. I can’t tell
you any more than I
already have without giving away something
important. I give the
story 3 out of 6.

The acting is where it all comes
together. In any character
piece, the casting and acting can make or break
the film, and in this
case, they make it. I’m sure you all know about
the consistent
quality you see from Kevin Spacey and Judi Dench.
You may not know
Pete Postlthwaite by name, but if I told you he
was the assistant to
Keyser Soze in “The Usual Suspects,” would you
know who we was and how
well he acts? Gordon Pinsent is another name you
may not know, but
he’s been great in all that I’ve seen him in.
Rhys Ifans I know only
as the only really good actor in Notting
Hill
. (He was the
bizarre roommate.) The triplets playing Bunny
were incredible for
triplets so young. They were absolutely
convincing and
indistinguishable. Jason Behr was surprisingly
good as well. If he
showed that much talent on Roswell, I
might still be watching
the show. The acting for this movie was
fantastic all around, right
down to Judi Dench’s character’s accent slowly
returning to her in her
first few days back in Newfoundland. I give the
acting 6 out of 6.

When evaluating the emotional response,
I realize that there
is something odd about this character piece. The
upbeat moments
worked for me, but the sad moments didn’t really
do anything. This
could be because the bad luck starts to pile up
before you really get
to know the characters or care for them. It
could also be because the
incredibly interesting main character didn’t seem
very sympathetic to
me. In any event, only half the scenes designed
to raise such a
response actually did anything for me, so I’ll
only give the movie 3
out of 6.

The production aspects of the movie,
such as the direction,
the score, the editing, etc. were all capable but
subtle. At no time
did a cut, scene composition, or other technical
aspect really astound
me, but neither did any of them distract me
(apart from the opening
effect shot, which is evaluated elsewhere). I
give it 4 out of 6.

Based on the above reviews, you might think that
this is not a great
movie overall. It is. It’s true that
only the acting and
characterizations really stand out, but the
characters are meant to be
the focus, and the excellent acting keeps the
viewer’s attention
there. This movie is well worth the time and
admission prices to see
it. I give it 5 out of 6 overall.

In total, The Shipping News received 27
out of 42.