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The Shipping News
The Shipping News (Soundtrack)
The Shipping News (The Novel)

The SHipping News The Shipping News Review

Directed By: Lasse Hallström .
Starring: Kevin Spacey, Julianne Moore, Cate Blanchett, Judi Dench and Scott Glenn.
Written By: Tom Servo

After his despicably trashy wife (Cate Blanchett) dies in a car crash, a soft spoken ink setter named Quoyle (Kevin Spacey) moves to his ancestral home in Newfoundland with his daughter and Aunt Agnis (Judi Dench). While trying to get his new life started, he meets an array of interesting characters including the "tall" day care owner, Wavey (Julianne Moore) and crusty newspaper editor, Jack Buggit. (Scott Glenn) After Jack hires him on at the newspaper, Quoyle tries to fit into his new surroundings.

The Shipping News is based on the E. Annie Proulx novel of the same name. Unlike most authors who are terrified that their works are going to be butchered and want a hand in every facet of the adaptation, Proulx couldn't seem to care less about the production after she sold the rights. In fact, after being flown in to see the premiere she was even quoted as saying, "well, it was an inconvenience flying all the way to Denver."

I have not read the book, but apart from a few small changes, I hear that the core of the work remains intact. I'd like to say that this is a romantic comedy, but there are far too many dark elements in the film that make it that cut and dry. There are several points in the film that you caught off guard by this, but by and large this is a spirited tale about starting over and self-discovery. I can tell you though that were some Newfoundlanders behind me in the theater that were not too thrilled with some of the stereotypes portrayed in the film.

All the performances given are sincere and full of character. Kevin Spacey goes against the grain of his usual roles and plays the flawed and incredibly meek Quoyle excellently.

The director, Lasse Hallström seems comfortable with small town settings as two of his previous critical successes (What's Eating Gilbert Grape, Chocolat) have been in such locales. The beautiful cliffs and shores of Newfoundland, which really comes across as having a life of its own in the film, also stunningly accent The Shipping News.

The message, or headline if you will, to take from this film is "Starting over a struggle, but always possible."


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Evil Ash

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