Picks and Pans Review: The Winter Guest
Emma Thompson, Phyllida Law
For his directorial debut, actor Alan Rickman (Sense and Sensibility) has chosen the cinematic equivalent of My Mother, My Self, making a chicken-soup-with-an-edge film about the fractious relationship between an aging mother (Law) and her adult daughter (Thompson). The gimmick here is that the pair is played by real-life mother and daughter Law and Thompson.
The movie is set in a small Scottish coastal town on the coldest day of the year (symbolism alert!), a day so cold even the ocean has frozen over. The daughter, a photographer, is still mourning the death of her beloved husband. Emotionally she is at subzero, keeping both her mother and her adolescent son at a chilly distance. Her mother tries to break the ice between them. The two take a long walk on the beach, during which they freeze their tootsies off but warm up to each other.
The Winter Guest might better be called The Winter Gust for all its long-winded prattle, but (and this has to be a measure of something) immediately after seeing it, I did call my own mother, just to say hi. (R)
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