a winner in bittersweet small town
thinks his prayers have been answered when he agrees to act as legal guardian to elderly client Leo (Young), who has early Alzheimer’s – a role which brings $1,500 a month. Matters are complicated when Leo’s grandson Kyle (Shaffer) turns up, having run away from his negligent mother (Lynskey). Mike’s wife Jackie (Ryan) is reluctant to allow the wastrel to stay, locking Kyle in a basement room. “We have kids. I’m not taking any chances with Eminem down there!” she hisses. In time, the Flahertys become a surrogate family for the troubled lad, encouraging him to join the school wrestling team which Mike coaches with friends Terry (Cannavale) and Stephen (Jeffrey Tambor). Win Win is a heartbreaking account of a family unravelling at the seams and the emotionally-wounded teenager who unexpectedly provides the catalyst for change. Giamatti and Ryan deliver compelling lead performances and newcomer Shaffer is a revelation. McCarthy’s ear for dialogue is as acute as ever and even if the trials and tribulations are resolved a little too neatly, we’re content because though they make poor choices, the characters deserve all of the good fortune they can muster. FAMILY WATCH: Swearing, No Sex, Violence.
Paul Giamatti is on cracking form.
ON THE EDGE: