Year of Release: 2011
Director: Thomas McCarthy
Stars: Paul Giamatti, Amy Ryan, Bobby Cannavale, Jeffrey Tambor, Burt Young, Melanie Lynskey, Alex Schaffer, Margo Martindale, David W. Thompson
Genre: Drama, Comedy
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 7
Synopsis:Thomas McCarthy is one of those rare actor/director cases, where his directorial efforts have all produced very interesting and accomplished films. McCarthy usually plays supporting roles in big budget films, such as Roland Emmerich's "2012", but in his directorial career, from his debut with "The Station Agent", through "The Visitor" and now "Win Win", he has always showed a rare insight and deft perception to showcase the life and interactions of people, not cardboard characters.
Win Win follows the life of Mike Flaherty, a small town lawyer who is struggling to make ends meet since he has very few clients. Mike also has a side activity as a wrestling coach, but much to his dismay, his team isn't doing so well. When one of his clients has to be placed in the care of the state, Mike sees that as an opportunity to make some extra money for himself. When his client's grandson shows up at his doorstep, a series of events starts to unravel, which will change Mike's and his small circle of friends and family lives forever.
Thomas McCarthy knows how to examine and probe the microcosms of life and of the relationships of everyday people. Mike Flaherty is simply trying to stay afloat and maintain the happiness and stability of his family. The film smartly interplays the humor and drama of every day life, something that adds an extra layer to the film, and makes all the characters the more engaging. Paul Giamatti is fantastic as always, creating a man who is struggling and almost overwhelmed by the difficulties of life, but who tries to do the right thing for the people he loves. The supporting actors are equally great, from Amy Ryan, Bobby Cannavale, Jeffrey Tambor, Melanie Lynskey and the young Alex Schaffer. A very good film worth seeing.