This is one of those movies that slipped through the cracks. Released in 2001, it was up against some really great movies and even franchises like Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings. It’s based on a novel written by Annie Proulx and in case you didn’t know, Brokeback Mountain is also based on one of her novels. Directed by Lasse Hallstrom, who got famous for his work on ABBA videos, but established himself as a serious director with movies like What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, The Cider House Rules and Chocolat, The Shipping News is a dark comedy/drama about life, love and expectations. Starring phenomenal Kevin Spacey, this movie assembled quite the cast. It will make you enjoy even a little slower portions of the movie, although the pacing is kinda great. Another thing that I really liked about this movie is its cinematography. New York and Newfoundland are two very different places, but both of them look really amazing. Especially Newfoundland, where they could go nuts with those nature shots. This doesn’t mean that the characters are in the background, it just means that the director is a very talented and professional guy.
Meet Quoyle, a shy and timid inksetter in a small newspaper in Poughkeepsie, New York. He’s traumatized by his childhood and especially memories of his father teaching him to swim. He’s also in love with easygoing Petal, a girl who’s easy, easy as Sunday morning. He ends up marrying her and the two of them soon become three, as Petal gives birth to Bunny. However, after some unfortunate events, they will be forced to leave town in search of a new start…
It is so fucking funny to watch Cate Blanchett play a local slut. I mean, I was so used to seeing her command shit or fight orcs, that this was quite refreshing. The fact that this movie combines drama and comedy so easily is something that should not surprise anyone. Shot two years after the release of American Beauty and starring Kevin Spacey as a middle-aged man going through a lot, the two movies are similar, but The Shipping News is a much warmer and easygoing movie, although it can be very serious at times. Also, there’s this natural and flowy atmosphere that sort of relaxes you and eases you into this world of newspapers and strange people. Enjoy.
Director: Lasse Hallström
Cast: Kevin Spacey, Julianne Moore, Judi Dench, Cate Blanchett, Pete Postlethwaite
Fun Stuff: Jason Behr put on 15 pounds for his role as Dennis Buggit. Kevin Spacey put on about 25 pounds for the role of Quoyle.