Movie: Winter Solstice

Our Rating: 1.50

The cinema of rural tedium claims another victim – you – as a widowed gardener (Anthony LaPaglia) mopes around his New Jersey neighborhood, exploring new depths of uncommunicative dysfunction with his two sons while oh-so-slowly warming to the prospect of midlife intimacy with an innocuous temporary neighbor (Allison Janney). Only the terminally comatose would confuse any of this with drama; the closest thing to it arises when the older kid announces his intention to move to Florida to crash with a friend. Dad interprets that decision as a personal betrayal, ostensibly because it threatens to upset a fragile social balance that's predicated on everybody hanging around the local Dairy Queen and feeling sorry for him/herself. Not one word of the script rings any pithier or livelier than "reality," which begs the question of why it needed to be a movie in the first place. And the soundtrack? Folksy acoustic guitar, natch. This is the kind of long, dull Winter that makes you wish summer would get here right away, bringing with it the comforting prospect of getting to watch a car blow up or something. Anything.


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