Win Win

Film Review by Philip Concannon | 16 May 2011
Film title: Win Win
Director: Thomas McCarthy
Starring: Paul Giamatti, Alex Shaffer, Bobby Cannavale, Melanie Lynskey, Amy Ryan
Release date: 20 May
Certificate: 15


Win Win is a character-driven film that is blessed with real characters; people we can understand, be interested in, and care about. That has been the case with Thomas McCarthy's two previous films as a director, and his third feature again displays his knack for finding an authentic sense of humour and pathos in his stories. Paul Giamatti is perfect as the struggling small-town lawyer who coaches a useless wrestling team in his spare time, while newcomer Alex Shaffer is a real find as the troubled teen who unexpectedly becomes a big part of his life. McCarthy gives the cast room to shine – Bobby Cannavale, Melanie Lynskey and Burt Young have great moments – and his tight, deceptively simple screenplay develops in an easygoing manner that proves hugely satisfying. Frankly, it's a crying shame that such a bighearted movie should receive a 15 rating for a few scenes of swearing (fully justified within the context), but that's just about the only downside to this marvellous picture. [Philip Concannon]