The Shipping News
***.2 GM
Starring: Kevin Spacey, Julianne Moore, Cate Blanchett, Scott Glenn, Pete Postlethwaite, Judi Dench, Rhys Ifans, Jason Behr


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I'll see any Kevin Spacey movie. Not that I've rushed out to see "K-Pax" yet, or found the time to rent "Midafternoon in the Greenhouse of Decent and Unpleasant" yet, but the guy's good and I like watching him work.

This time out, he's a slightly-slow-on-the-uptake ink setter named Quoyle who finds himself caught up in the fly-by-the-seat-of-the-pants world of Petal (Cate Blanchett), who runs into him at a gas station, takes him home, fucks him, pops out a kid named Bunny, scrambles around for eons at a time while Quoyle raises the girl and then she bites it while strung out with her boyfriend. Of course, Quoyle feels like he just lost true magic love, and that his daughter just lost a mother, although she wasn't really either one of those things to them. When a long-lost aunt (Judi Dench) comes to town to visit the ashes of Quoyle's asshole father, it winds up transporting the family to snowy, slow-paced Newfoundland trying to whip together a new life in the ancestral shithole, meeting interesting people like Wavy (Julianne Moore) and Jack (Scott Glenn) in a fishing village.

It's a relatively quiet story of a lost man coming into his own, a troubled woman conquering her demons and the struggle to leave the past behind, with a hint of the supernatural peppered in very lightly. Everyone turns in good performances and creates some interesting characters in this slice-of-a-unique-sort-of-life tale, but it's somewhat less than truly affecting. There are some really good moments and the headline gags are amusing, but it was one of those films that leaves me with a slight sigh and a shrug of "Okay, thanks for the little tale." Worth seeing, but there's no real reason to go out of your way to seek it out.

Although I must admit that Cate Blanchett has quite the admirable patoot on her, as evidenced by her brief thong shot. I'm not a guy that generally dwells on stuff like that, but since that's the most resonating image I've been retaining from the film, I'm guessing that's something worth noting about the rest of the story.

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