The Austin Chronicle

SXSW 2011 Film Reviews

By Marjorie Baumgarten, March 18, 2011, Screens

Win Win

D: Tom McCarthy; with Paul Giamatti, Amy Ryan, Bobby Cannavale, Jeffrey Tambor, David Thompson, Burt Young, Melanie Lynskey, Alex Schaffer, Margo Martindale

Writer/director Tom McCarthy, who previously helmed The Station Agent and The Visitor, once again reveals his knack for creating singular yet relatable characters and situations. That’s, no doubt, what attracts so many superlative actors to his films, a trend that will likely continue now that Paul Giamatti picked up a Golden Globe for his performance in Win Win. In this film, Giamatti plays Mike Flaherty, a suburban New Jersey lawyer who is struggling to make ends meet until he devises a morally deceptive legal maneuver to bring in an extra $1,500 a month. The only passion in Mike’s life seems to come from coaching an inept high school wrestling team. Then a kid from Ohio (Thompson) suddenly surfaces and poses a threat to Mike’s shady economic-recovery plan. But it turns out that the kid is not only troubled but also a former champion wrestler. Each can help the other, but at what cost?

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