Winter Passing isn’t much of anything, except a showcase for Deschanel, who seemingly effortlessly inhabits her role, which requires her to do some things onscreen that might make you cringe. She’s playing a very unlikable character, and so if you can get in her headspace without fighting it, the movie may work better for you.
Plot: Actress Reese Holden has been offered a small fortune by a book editor if she can secure for publication the love letters that her father, a reclusive novelist, wrote to her mother, who has since passed away.
Review: Following the death of her brilliant novelist mother, Reese Holden (Zooey Deschanel) has descended into a nihilistic lifestyle filled with drugs, booze, and meaningless sex. She’s lost, and she finally begins to realize it when a book editor (Amy Madigan) offers to purchase a bunch of letters exchanged between her mom and her equally brilliant novelist father (Ed Harris) who hasn’t published anything in close to a decade. Reese decides to take a bus back to her family home and when she gets there she is taken aback by how far her father has regressed: His life seems to be in complete disarray. He sleeps outside in the backyard in his bed, plays golf in what was his bedroom, and mostly lives in a shed where he drinks himself into a stupor every night. His caretakers are a pretty young woman (Amelia Warner) who used to be one of his writing students and an odd Christian man (Will Ferrell) who might be halfway talented at playing the guitar. When Reese comes back into her father’s life, she’s affronted by all that’s changed, and it takes her awhile to adjust emotionally. She must decide whether or not to sell her parents’ depressing letters to each other, or simply make the next step on her own journey without tying herself to her parents’ emotional baggage.
A downbeat drama with some good performances from its leads, Winter Passing isn’t much of anything, except a showcase for Deschanel, who seemingly effortlessly inhabits her role, which requires her to do some things onscreen that might make you cringe. She’s playing a very unlikable character, and so if you can get in her headspace without fighting it, the movie may work better for you. Ferrell is funny despite playing a kind of emotionally fragile guy, but sometimes you can’t help but laugh with him. Writer / director Adam Rapp’s script doesn’t say anything profound – and it doesn’t really try to – and he offers up yet another movie about writers that I’m not sure most people can relate to, but if sad, morose introspective dramas about writers are your thing, then Winter Passing is for you.
MVD Marquee Collection’s recently released Blu-ray of Winter Passing comes with a trailer and a behind the scenes feature.