Winter Solstice


Directed by: Josh Sternfeld
Written by:Josh Sternfeld
Starring: Anthony LaPaglia, Aaron Stanford, Mark Webber, Allison Janney, Ron Livingston
Released: November 24, 2005
Grade: B+

Jim Winters (LaPaglia) is a widowed father with two teenage sons, Gabe (Stanford) and Pete (Webber).  It’s been a while since his wife passed away but the family has never really come to grips with what happened.  They are each coping with the loss in a different way and Jim is feeling become more and more isolated from his sons and their upbringing.

The monotonous existence they all share is abruptly changed when Gabe tells everyone that he’s moving out of home.  It’s just something he must do – he has to go out there and find his place in the world.  Jim isn’t prepared for this and arguments ensue.  Matters are further complicated for Jim when he starts becoming friendly with Molly Ripkin (Janney), a single woman who is house-sitting in the neighbourhood.  Does he have the heart to give love a second chance?

Winter Solstice is one of those quiet, sleepy films that you might watch when channel surfing late one night.  It has a recognisable cast and a simple storyline that’s easy to go along with.  It’s like a Hallmark Channel movie only with a little more quality.

For those that don’t understand the title reference, the winter solstice is the shortest day of the year – from that day for the next six months, the sun always rises earlier of a morning and sets later in the evening.  It’s a turning point just as it is Jim, Gabe and Pete.

Winter Solstice screened at the Brisbane International Film Festival and I wasn’t expecting it to get a release in this country but with Australian Anthony LaPaglia (Without A Trace) is the leading role it may attract some viewers.  It’s a nice character study but filmgoers who like movies with more action and substance should try something else.