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Overall Rating

Awesome: 16.22%
Worth A Look37.84%
Average: 35.14%
Pretty Bad: 5.41%
Total Crap: 5.41%

2 reviews, 25 user ratings

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Shipping News, The
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by Stephen Groenewegen

"Anchored to the past"
4 stars

If you liked Lasse Hallström’s similarly toned adaptations of Chocolat and The Cider House Rules, chances are you won’t be overly surprised or disappointed by The Shipping News.

Kevin Spacey endears as the softly spoken, weak-willed Quoyle, in an against-type performance. Quoyle and his young daughter are towed in the wake of Aunt Agnis (Judi Dench) after Quoyle’s wife perishes in a car crash. Cate Blanchett, in stilettos and leather miniskirt, ignites the screen in her brief appearance as Quoyle’s vampish wife. She struts around like a cat on heat.

Agnis is returning to the desolate Quoyle ancestral home on the wintry Newfoundland coastline. She has childhood ghosts to confront. A variety of familiar actors (Scott Glenn, Pete Postlethwaite, Rhys Ifans) swell the ranks of the Newfoundlanders. Only Julianne Moore seems out of place. She conquers the unusual accent, but doesn’t seem rugged enough for this territory, where pirates once ruled the waters.

It’s a lot easier to watch The Shipping News than it is to read E Annie Proulx’s Pulitzer prize-winning novel. The film’s pace is leisurely, but there’s a compelling rhythm to Hallström’s graceful direction and Andrew Mondshein’s editing. Family confrontation and dark secrets are taken in stride by the characters, who learn to shrug off the demons in their past. Quoyle reconnects with his manhood, recovers his self-esteem and is healed by love.

Oliver Stapleton’s cinematography keeps proceedings from becoming mawkish. Whereas the winter scenes in Chocolat glowed warmly, Stapleton doesn’t soften The Shipping News’ omnipresent whitish-grey light. He gives Newfoundland a bleak look, but also captures its harsh, natural beauty.

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originally posted: 02/14/02 13:44:09
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User Comments

3/01/10 Phil M. Aficiando Put me to sleep, though it's a handsome film; maybe it's me not engaging with the storyith 3 stars
6/28/09 the dork knight Quirky, unpredictable, but ultimately dull and pointless. 2 stars
5/08/05 Bluto Great cast, Blanchett is so hot 4 stars
8/23/04 R.W. Welch Not much electricity here. I presume the book was better. 3 stars
1/31/04 john godrich atmospheric, good character definition, poor ending 4 stars
10/04/03 Joesco Snspshots only from a unique book - Read it 3 stars
5/17/03 George Jung Great film. The directing is near flawless. 5 stars
4/01/03 Jack Sommersby Formulaic stuff, yet it manages to work. Flawlessly acted. 4 stars
1/02/03 Sam Potter Great cast. I love the book, but don't know if it's really movie material. A unique film. 4 stars
12/22/02 Bluto Cate was great as a slut 4 stars
10/12/02 othree actually pretty good when you can get over the past meets future and yarn 4 stars
7/14/02 bob leather jacket some moments were shocking and even gross 3 stars
6/22/02 Doc Shock Loser attempts to get a life story.... boring 2 stars
6/20/02 J I'm pretty much with Eric on this one. It makes a decent rental. 3 stars
4/29/02 Walter Anheier Wonderfull Pictures, Gripping story 5 stars
4/14/02 Newfoundlander not Newfie What a discrace 1 stars
3/07/02 Jack Hunter a weak hero, bleak environment, OK for Newfie visitors 3 stars
2/22/02 Bitchslap Deleting ratings to get your fav. movies to have high marks goes against what u stand for 1 stars
1/19/02 CoffeeVixen the cast is nothing but pure beauty, worth every penny to see 5 stars
1/16/02 Allison beauty in contrast to pain, both past and present - the beauty wins 5 stars
1/16/02 Dorothy Meyering Compliments the novel; superior acting 4 stars
1/11/02 Giovanni Kevin Spacey Rocks! 5 stars
12/28/01 Sus Petersen good acting...but script was lacking..some funny bits..characters not fully developed 4 stars
12/25/01 John Wonderful acting, script,a nd direction.. every bit as good as Cider House Rules! 5 stars
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  18-Jan-2002 (PG-13)



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