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"Win Win," Paul Giamatti's Latest Movie, Review
Win Win is a warm-hearted little movie about a struggling lawyer in a small town in New Jersey whose financial straits tempt him to petition to the court in order to become the guardian of an elderly client suffering from dementia in so that he could collect a $1500 per month guardian fee so that he can pay his family's health insurance premium. Neither Giamatti nor the court was able to locate the man's daughter whom he hadn't seen or heard from in 20 years. Giamatti promised the judge he would help the elderly man remain in his home as he wished rather than be put in a nursing facility. Once he became the man's guardian he promptly places him in a quite nice nursing home.
Soon a teenage boy shows up on the doorstep of the elderly man's empty house. He tells Giamatti that he's come to live with his grandfather. Giamatti takes him to visit his grandfather in the assisted living facility, and they have a nice visit. The boy's mother is in a drug rehabilitation facility in Ohio and he wants nothing to do with her. Giamatti and his wife take the boy in and try unsuccessfully to contact his mother. The boy gets along well with Giamatti, his wife and two small daughters.
Giamatti and his law partner coach the highly unsuccessful local high school wrestling team. They discover that the boy had been one of the top high school wrestlers in Ohio. He works out with their team and nobody can touch him. So, Giamatti convinces the boy to enroll in the school and join the team which ends up in the state finals and he's recruited by a college based on his wrestling successes. Then the boy's mother shows up with a lawyer bent on taking charge of her father's care and his money.
The movie deals with human frailties and motivations in a warm and human way. None of the characters is perfect and none is totally evil.Giamatti is a much nicer character in Win Win than in Barney's Version, and he delivers his usual stellar performance of a humorous, sad sack character who tries to do the right thing. Alex Shafer does a marvelous job as Kyle, the teen runaway, and Amy Ryan is quite good also as Giamatti's wife. Bobby Carnavale and Jeffrey Tambor add humor as assistant coaches of the wrestling team.
Giamatti fans will like this movie as well as anyone else who enjoys movies that treat serious moral issues with subtlety and a light touch.
The movie was directed and written by Tom McCarthy; based on a story by Mr. McCarthy and Joe Tiboni; director of photography,
“Win Win” is rated R (Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian). Language familiar to anyone who has driven in New Jersey.
Win Win Review by A.O. Scott
- Movie Review - \'Win Win\' - Win Win, With Paul Giamatti - Review - NYTimes.com
Paul Giamatti plays a struggling suburbanite facing the usual material and moral anxieties in Win Win, Tom McCarthys funny and warmhearted new film.