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Win Win

In the game of life, you can't lose 'em all. 

Year: 2011 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 (XWide) 
Certificate: BBFC 15 Cert – Not suitable for under 15s 
Subtitles: This film is not expected to be subtitled, though this cannot be guaranteed. 
Directed by Thomas McCarthy 
Starring: Paul Giamatti, Amy Ryan, Jeffrey Tambor, Alex Shaffer  
An image from Win Win

Described as the face of mid-life American indie dramedy, Paul Giamatti pulls it off once again with his portrayal of family-orientated Irish-American attorney, Mike Flaherty. Living a dull life and struggling to make ends meet, the audience immediately feels sympathy for Mike. When he’s not practising law to save pensioners from debt, he’s coaching a high school wrestling team and trying his utmost to keep his financial worries from his wife, Jackie (Amy Ryan).

Mike’s lack of funds, and worry for his family, causes him to hatch a plan in which he becomes the legal guardian of septuagenarian Leo Poplar, pocketing the monthly care cheque. Having promised Leo a room in his home, he prepares to pack him off to the nearest care home, when Leo’s 16 year old long-lost grandson, Kyle, shows up after a row with his druggy mother. Moody and reserved, Kyle is taken into the Flaherty home, at some objection from Jackie. In an attempt to protect her children from him, she lets him sleep in the (locked) basement, and refers to him as ‘Eminem’.

However, Kyle turns out to be just misunderstood (of course!), is accepted whole-heartedly into the family, and conveniently shows quite some wrestling talent. It all seems to be fitting together, but there’s still the unforgettable bomb of Mike’s dishonesty ticking away in the background. This whole genre is understated and underappreciated, and anyone enjoying the likes of Juno or Little Miss Sunshine should see this film! Director, Tom McCarthy, succeeds once again with this engaging and funny indie drama-cum-comedy, the perfect scene for such a true, but flawed, hero as found in Mike Flaherty.

Louise Formby

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Screenings of this film:

2011/2012 Autumn Term (35mm)