The Winter Guest | Movie Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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The Winter Guest



The Winter Guest

Two older women make their way to an out-of-town funeral, a teenage girl engineers a meeting with a boy she's attracted to, his mother and grandmother (real-life daughter and mother Emma Thompson and Phyllida Law) go for a walk, and two young boys play hooky in this deeply atmospheric poem set in a seaside town in Scotland on a single day. The aural and visual segues between scenes involving different groups of characters subordinate dramatic considerations to thematic connections; whether or not the mother and grandmother will return to the house where the teenagers have gone to be alone carries only a hint of suspense. This movie gently dwells on contradictions in the characters' behavior to expose the nature of some familial and social bonds, defining them in emotional and physical terms so palpable that moments consistently pierce you with their bittersweet beauty. Director Alan Rickman wrote the screenplay with Sharman MacDonald based on her play. Fine Arts, Wilmette. --Lisa Alspector

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): film still.

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