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WINTER SOLSTICE tells the tale of small steps taken in the aftermath of family loss. Landscape gardener Jim Winters (LaPaglia) is a quiet craftsman, a soft-spoken man who prefers an orderly life. His family, however, is anything but orderly. Older son Gabe (Stanford) is planning his escape to Florida, leaving behind any shot at a stable future with his girlfriend. Younger son Pete (Webber) has retreated into a private world of anger, drift and disappointment. It is only when he meets his new neighbor, Molly (Janney), that Jim finds a way to deal with his own life and his familys future.
Title aside, Winter Solstice is set in the spring and summer of a small, pretty, and dull Northeastern town. Anthony LaPaglia eases comfortably into the role of a widower anxious about his two teenage boys growing up and slipping away from him in Josh Sternfeld's low-key drama. While the eldest (Aaron Stanford) yearns for something more, or at least something different, his younger brother (Mark Webber) is the poster child for underachievers: Unfocused and distracted, wound up yet unmotivated. Sternfeld creates a lovely texture of naturalism and the boys create a convincing brotherly vibe in shared glances and private jokes, but the lulling rhythms take over the film, even when Allison Janney arrives with her low-key nervous energy. --Sean Axmaker
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I should have read the info on this product more carefully. It's a slow moving, quiet story with some decent acting but little character development and even less tension or plot. The basic premise is a somewhat vague conflict between the widower-father and his sons, mainly the older one. Anthony Paglia is fine but unimpressive and we get to know very little about him as the movie progresses, other than he has bursts of anger with his sons and that's he the grieving widower (but it takes a long while to even find that much out). The lady-neighbor is cheerfully played and also just okay; she's not given much of a change to develop as person, either.
But the movie wasn't a complete waste of my time (I used a credit to purchase it for cheap). As a parent, I totally connected with the father's frustration and the sense of loss when the older son wants to leave home, the changes that occur in a family and relationships, esp after a tragedy happens.
But much is left hanging and not well framed; the older son's issue with his loving longtime GF seems strange since we them spend time together, very chipper and intimate - yet he wants to leave her since she is the "problem" but we never find out what that means. Lady-neighbor mentions needing a "change of address" but we never find out why she does.
At least, in the end, there is a sense that things will - or may - work out for this family, and that the sadness that pervades this film will eventually lift as the family members heal and move on. Sort of.
My question is why does this bear the same title as another movie, one based on a famous book? Did the producers not research titles? Confusing!
And this has absolutely nothing to do with the Winter Solstice because it is set in the springtime, so I guess I have to look at the deeper meaning of the title. I think Anthony LaPaglia is a fine actor, but this movie was lifeless.
No story other than a single dad with two young adult sons, and boring to boot. Ends abruptly and you are left wondering "what the . . .?"
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The sun reaching its lowest point like a winter solstice says a lot about the...Read more