30 August 2007 | jpschapira
Loneliness knows me by name
"Winter Passing" is a lot of things besides being a very good movie. I don't want to miss the chance to say that it could have been a lot better, but it is what it is and what it is, is what we get. In this way, what we get is a very introspective portrait of sad and lonely people; I know it doesn't sound right but that's all I'm going to say about the film.
The thing is that when you love cinema, you watch films even if you don't know what they are about and you understand the nature of each movie; "Winter Passing's" nature is loneliness, not just its characters' but the sceneries' it's set in. In fact, it's one of the most contemplative and observing films I've seen this year.
No wonder the cinematography is by Terry Stacey from "The Door in the Floor"; it makes you watch
He uses a lot of darkness and creates a mood so depressing that sometimes you can't figure out what's going on. But it is a good trick, because when the sun comes out (and you've been expecting it); Stacey's images look beautiful.
Adam Rapp, the man who directed and wrote the film, has a good narrative eye and we sense it constantly during the film, but he also has a talent for directing actors; and there's also credit to the casting directors for this: the most unusual small ensemble. A weird and special actress (Zooey Deschanel), a comedian (Will Ferrell), a character actor (Ed Harris), and a rising English young star (Amelia Warren)
They all work perfectly together, because each of them understands the fragile situation of their character and the rest.
By the way, Harris is working really hard these days and has a lot of films we still haven't seen. And about Ferrell, I wanted to say this after watching "Blades of Glory", a regular and overrated film I didn't write about in which the comedian was the best element...Whether he does comedy or drama, his hair is long or short, black or brown; Ferrell always constructs his characters from zero. He picks little things and starts repeating them throughout a movie, to prove he is completely in character. You should pay close attention to his work in any film.
Rapp crafted a solid screenplay that's maybe a bit over sentimentalist, but he intelligently clarifies it in a crucial part of the movie. However, for a story so humane and real, he could have been harsher; because his elegant narration and images ask for it. However, in his piece, and like in the best dramas, things are said better by means of the images and not of the words; and that's always appreciated.
Also, if anything, "Winter Passing" is living proof that Zooey Deschanel is a fantastic actress; that when she wants she can leave eccentricity and also do great things (because she does great things when she's eccentric); that she can carry a whole movie by herself and that it should happen more often. But probably it won't, because she's one of the most down-to-earth people in the business, and she only works when it's worth it