SXSW Film Review: Win It All

Joe Swanberg takes a shot at a feel-good movie about addiction

Eddie (Jake Johnson, looking good shouldering a heavier role than usual) is a charming loser who can’t hold a decent job, hasn’t been to a meeting in six months, and squanders his nights and his money playing cards in underground speakeasies in Chicago.

When a lowlife associate headed to prison asks him to hold onto a bag full of ill-gotten cash for six months, we can all guess where this is headed for Eddie: rock bottom.

Win It All is both a smooth-edged comedy and an addiction drama fluent in the language of recovery. While the combination of the two is not always intellectually satisfying - Eddie’s whole charm is his nihilism, and it’s hard to imagine his happy ending sticking - Swanberg knows how to work the emotional levers of his audience. This is just the movies, after all. Like a good dealer, Win It All doles out the feeling that a guy like Eddie is chasing more than anything else: a reason to believe it’s all gonna work out beautifully.

Win It All

Narrative Spotlight, World Premiere

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