More in-depth film festival coverage than any other website!
Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 

Overall Rating

Awesome: 0%
Worth A Look46.43%
Average: 21.43%
Pretty Bad: 3.57%
Total Crap: 28.57%

4 reviews, 4 user ratings

Latest Reviews

Midsommar by Rob Gonsalves

Blood on Her Name by Jay Seaver

Parasite (2019) by Peter Sobczynski

American Fighter by Jay Seaver

Moon in the Hidden Woods, The by Jay Seaver

Homewrecker (2019) by Jay Seaver

Gemini Man by Jay Seaver

Pain and Glory by Peter Sobczynski

Rusalka (aka The Siren), The by Jay Seaver

Riot Girls by Rob Gonsalves

subscribe to this feed

Winter Passing
[] Buy posters from this movie
by EricDSnider

"Patching things up with Dad in the usual indie-film way."
3 stars

Stand in the middle of a film festival and swing a stick and you're bound to hit a movie just like "Winter Passing," a moody, character-driven, mostly plot-free drama about a broken family trying to reconnect. It's nicely acted, for the most part, but it doesn't do anything you haven't seen done before.

Reese Holdin (Zooey Deschanel), a struggling actress in New York City, is approached by a book editor (Amy Madigan) who wants to publish the love letters Reese's parents -- both acclaimed novelists -- wrote to each other during their courtship. Reese's mother died not long ago, and her father, Don (Ed Harris), an oddball recluse, hasn't published anything in 20 years. The love letters of their youth would be huge, and the editor offers Reese $100,000 for them.

For Reese, the decision to hand the letters over to the publishing world is a financial one. She's broke, the show she's in is about to close, and she has way too much meaningless, drug-fueled sex with castmates and acquaintances. (Such is the life of a struggling New York City actress, or so I'm told.)

Unfortunately, getting the letters means returning to her childhood home in rural Michigan. She hasn't communicated with her father since she left at 18; she didn't come to Mom's funeral. Her childhood, we gradually learn, had her competing with her parents' typewriters for their attention.

Can you feel the angst?

Upon arriving in Michigan, Reese finds that Dad, now creaky and long-haired, is for some reason living in his garage, while an attractive former student of his named Shelly (Amelia Warner) and a bodyguard/disciple named Corbit (Will Ferrell) live in the house. Shelly and Corbit are devoted to Don, in awe of his genius and taking it in stride that he has chosen to live in the garage. Rather than stand aside while Reese and Don work out their complicated relationship, Corbit befriends Reese and Shelly psychoanalyzes her. They are a foursome now.

Writer/director Adam Rapp (brother of "Rent" star Anthony Rapp, who appears in one scene) has compiled a lot of details here, but many of them don't go anywhere. So Reese rescued an ailing kitten in New York. So Corbit is a would-be rock guitarist who is also, we learn in one startlingly out-of-left-field announcement, a religious Christian. So some elements of Reese's mother's later life were kept secret from her. So Reese has a guy friend in New York who might move to Colorado. So what? So what to all of that. What we've got here are a lot of brush strokes without any picture.

You may wonder what Will Ferrell is doing in a serious drama. I'm wondering the same thing. He may have it in him to play a dramatic role, but this film doesn't give him the chance. Corbit is written as a strange, idiosyncratic character, almost comic relief but not quite, and Ferrell comes off as just goofy enough to be out of place.

Amelia Warner does solid work as Shelly, Ed Harris is just killing time between real gigs as the nutty old Don, and Zooey Deschanel (Ferrell's "Elf" co-star, you'll recall) grows more appealing every time I see her. Someone give this talented, soulful, intelligent actress a good leading role in a major film. Use "Winter Passing" as her audition tape if you want to.

link directly to this review at
originally posted: 02/23/06 15:30:37
[printer] printer-friendly format  
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Toronto Film Festival For more in the 2005 Toronto Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Austin Film Festival For more in the 2005 Austin Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

10/08/17 Cats drool, dogs rule Creep factor. New girl has several themes with cat-hate humor. Sullen, directionless plot. 1 stars
12/08/06 William Goss Zooey mopes around. Harris mopes around. Ferrell mopes around. Repeat. Typical indie fare. 2 stars
10/11/06 Indrid A well done, low-key drama/comedy. Maybe a little too low-key though. 4 stars
Note: Duplicate, 'planted,' or other obviously improper comments
will be deleted at our discretion. So don't bother posting 'em. Thanks!
Your Name:
Your Comments:
Your Location: (state/province/country)
Your Rating:

Discuss this movie in our forum

  17-Feb-2006 (R)
  DVD: 16-May-2006



Directed by
  Adam Rapp

Written by
  Adam Rapp

  Zooey Deschanel
  Will Ferrell
  Ed Harris
  Amy Madigan
  Rachel Dratch
  Sam Bottoms

Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About Australia's Largest Movie Review Database.
Privacy Policy | HBS Inc. | |   

All data and site design copyright 1997-2017, HBS Entertainment, Inc.
Search for
reviews features movie title writer/director/cast