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 an... more »ything 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 family?s future.« less
"This movied was batting a thousand, and I would have given it an easy 5 stars, when, all of a sudden...it stops. It quits. It poops out on you. They build up this wonderfully realistic, poignant story of a father presiding over his family's meltdown after the death of his wife, and this sweet, realistic-looking, realistic-acting lady moves in down the street, and she's escaping from her troubles, and her and the Dad befriend each other, and are they ever going to fall in love? Are they ever going to do anything, go anywhere, accomplish anything? Is this woman going to help solidify the father, help him reign in his kids who are jumping ship and not looking back? We don't get to find out, because this film leaves you hanging. What a tease. I wish they had warned you on the outside: WARNING--MISSING THE LAST CRUCIAL 30 MINUTES!"
Great Performances Bring A Deceptively Simple Family Drama T
K. Harris | Las Vegas, NV | 12/20/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"When Anthony LaPaglia first broke onto the scene, the inevitable comparisons began. Almost immediately his look and intensity was correlated with a young DeNiro. And while that assessment is apt, he has chosen an alternate career path. While DeNiro's acting has become a lot broader (tending lately to caricatures of his former persona), LaPaglia has become a lot more introspective. "Winter Solstice" is a small movie that LaPaglia helped produce, an incisive look at a family in the aftermath of the mother's death.
Set five years after the incident, LaPaglia is a widower with one grown son and one son still in high school. The three of them have formed a matter-of-fact living arrangement. Going about daily routines, there is little real communication or joy within the family. They just exist. The older son, played by Aaron Stanford, longs to live a life for himself away from the obligations that have held him stagnant. The younger son, Mark Webber, is aimless--a smart kid who doesn't bother to apply himself to school or much of anything. The family dynamic is very observant and true. The brothers, in particular, have an extremely realistic relationship. When Stanford wants to move away, there is a subtle shift in the family--and without a lot of high drama, the threesome starts to accept that it is OK to move on.
"Winter Solstice" isn't a movie about plot. In truth, it's a slight (but emotionally resonant) story. Stanford, after announcing himself with "Tadpole" and surviving the "X Men" franchise and "The Hills Have Eyes," proves himself a capable dramatic actor. Webber is also startlingly good. The detailed performances are what set this film apart--while the sons are not always likable, they are inherently believable. Add LaPaglia's lived-in pathos and Alison Janney as a new life-force, and you've got one stellar quartet.
Small and quiet, "Winter Solstice" still touched me. Deceptively simple, it's a rare film that just feels true. Recommended for those that favor character studies, it might be a little too slight for those looking for blockbuster entertainment. KGHarris, 12/06."
Another story about life worth watching
S. Holsey | California | 09/15/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I thought this movie was engaging and interesting. Anthony LaPaglia gave a credible performance as a hardworking and grieve stricken father of two sons. The story simply depicts how these 3 men deal with life and with each other after their wife/mother died in an automobile accident 5 years back. The two sons are a handful in their own right, as the oldest is just out of school and working full time at a dead end job while trying to gather enough money to move to Florida and make his own way. The youngest son, who is still in high school and struggling, is some what of a rebel, but yet a good kid just fighting puberty. The Father is left to deal with each of his son's circumstances, while trying to overcome his own mourning, loneliness, and uncertainty. From beginning to end the movie left me interested and entertained. It's not a fast paced movie with to much going on. It's a simple movie with a good story to tell. I will not say how it ends and what happens to these 3 men, however, I will say that I thought the movie ended well. To some interpretations, how it ends could leave you wanting to know more, which is completely understandable. However for me personally, I thought the movie ending was on the money. Sometimes instead of living happily ever after and/or finishing with tragedy, the story is better left undetermined. As life it self is undetermined."
Ma Regina Marinho | Brasil | 03/24/2008
(1 out of 5 stars)
"I ordered this product thinking it was based on Rosamunde Pilcher's inter Solstice. It was not! What a drag! The film ended and I thought I had fallen asleep during it and decided to watch it again. I did not make any sense."
S. Magrath | Clearfield, UT | 02/08/2008
(1 out of 5 stars)
"This movie came up when looking for a Rosamunde Pilcher story - it is NOT based on her book of the same title."