Mike Flaherty’s (Paul Giamatti, Sideways) boiler is about to burst. Unable to make ends meet through his small-town law firm and high school wrestling coaching job, Mike is feeling overwhelming pressure. With bills backing up and chores left unfinished due to limited time, he secretly makes a dishonest decision to stop from buckling under the stress. But just when the temporal things start to look up, bills paid and stress reduced, the consequence of his bad decision show up in the form of a 16-year-old rebel named Kyle (newcomer Alex Shaffer).
When Mike made is dishonest decision, he never could have foreseen that it would include taking in a hydrogen-peroxide blond teenager. This, of course, exposes his actions to his tough wife Jackie (Amy Ryan, Gone Baby Gone). With no other option, Mike and Jackie add Kyle to their loving little family. With Kyle only knowing the dark home life that comes from a druggy mother (Melanie Lynskey, Away We Go), he quickly takes to them and their rules.
Trying to make a connection with Kyle, Mike takes him to wrestling practice. It is there that Kyle unveils his hidden talent – he is a phenomenal wrestler. With Kyle’s talent and Mike’s ambition, the two of them are about to turn this pathetic team into a force to be reckoned with. The friendship that Mike and Kyle form in the gym quickly bleeds into every aspect of their lives.
I am not one for cheesy fairytale feel-good movies, but I absolutely love it when an indie twist is applied to one, making it honest and unpredictable. Win Win holds a beautiful charm that the studio feel-goods usually lack, a mixture of comedy, heart, story and genuine raw emotion, never dabbling in the melodramatic. Giamatti, Ryan, Lynskey and even first-timer Shaffer rise to the occasion and perfectly bring the story to life.
Having distributed some of the best films of the last year – Cedar Rapids, Black Swan, 127 Hours, Conviction, Never Let Me Go and Cyrus – hats off to Fox Searchlight for their integrity. Keep it going!
Click here to read my exclusive interview with Alex Shaffer!
Photo credit: Fox Searchlight