Reviewed by: Christopher Okkerse
|Featuring:||Kevin Spacey, Julianne Moore, Judi Dench, Scott Glenn, Rhys Ifans, Pete Postlethwaite, Cate Blanchett, Jason Behr, Gordon Pinsent, John Dunsworth|
|Producer:||Rob Cowan, Linda Goldstein Knowlton, Leslie Holleran, Irwin Winkler|
“The Shipping News” begins with an “ordinary Joe” working-class guy named Quoyle (Kevin Spacey). Quoyle leads a relatively uneventful life, but that all changes when a strange woman named Petal (Cate Blanchett) gets into his car.
Quoyle, taken in by her seductive ways, ends up having a child with her. He intends to be faithful and support his new family but this woman has no intention of sharing her life with someone she considers boring. Quoyle winds up with the responsibility of raising a daughter—alone. With some coaxing from a distant aunt, he decides to search out his roots. Quoyle, his daughter and the aunt move into the family’s abandoned house in a small community in Newfoundland, Canada. Here Quoyle finds out that he didn’t come from an ordinary family—he is just the exception. Quoyle continues on throughout the move finding many skeletons in his families past and experiencing bizarre situations.
I found this movie a little dry, unlike the beautiful scenery filmed in its Newfoundland setting. The moral content was stagnant. The characters just seem to ride along with whatever bad thing comes along. The “F” word is used a couple of times and the Lord’s name taken in vain, unfortunately not just by the “bad guys”. There is a reference to a homosexual relationship with no mention of the immorality of such a situation. However, there are a few redeeming qualities about this film: 1) no nudity, 2) a few good Newfie jokes, 3) some slap-stick humor, and 4) a heart warming friendship between Quoyle and the leading lady Wavey (played by Julianne Moore). The writer apparently strived to be unpredictable and did achieve this goal. I have never seen another movie like it. “The Shipping News” left me with the feeling that I had just woken up from a weird dream. But it’s the kind of dream I wish I could forget.