The Shipping News (2001)


“I need a reporter. And you’ll do local car wrecks. Take the picture, write the story. We run a front-page photo of a car wreck every week whether or not we actually have a car wreck. Now, there’s a knack for taking photos that make you feel something. If there’s a dark patch on the ground it reads blood whether it’s motor oil or Diet Coke.” – Jack Buggit

Number of Times Seen – Twice (and 4 Jul 2019)

Brief Synopsis – Following a tragedy, a simple man and his daughter move to his ancestral home in Newfoundland in order to find his place in the world.

My Take on it – This is a film that I recall hearing much hype about when it came out since it was based on a Pulitzer prize winning novel and raced to see it in the theater when it came out.

I wasn’t so impressed by it at the time yet one memorable scene has stood out in my mind ever since I first saw this.

I decided to revisit it and see if my opinion on the film changed in the intervening years.

I must admit that I really hope that the novel is much better than the movie because this one was quite boring in the way that it’s presented.

It fails to capture the imagination and just doesn’t feel realistic enough in the way it tells its story.

The characters aren’t developed well enough and that makes the viewer not care at all about what will happen to them over the course of the story.

Something constantly feels out of place with the storyline and it never manages to make it come across genuinely enough.

The cast of this movie is filed with superb actors, but all seem completely wasted here because none of them are able to make their characters fee;l interesting enough for us to sympathize with.

This film has one memorable scene tho and that is the one with the wake which is able to slightly take us away from the dullness of the rest of the story.

A few weeks ago, I was at a pseudo-wake and during discussions about perceptions of these kind of events related the scene from this film, which actually got a few laughs.

Bottom Line – Story that is presented in a really boring way that just doesn’t manage to capture the imagination despite the fact that the book it is based on won a Pulitzer Prize. The characters aren’t interesting enough and something feels off the whole time in the way that this story moves along. The cast is filled with superb actors who all seem misused and fail to make us care about what happens to any of them.  The most memorable scene of this rather dull film is the “wake” which I recounted the story of at a real ‘pseudo’ – wake a few week ago.

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – The author of the novel, E. Annie Proulx, would only grant the film rights to the book upon the condition that it be filmed on-location in Newfoundland. (From IMDB)

Rating – BAFTA Worthy (5/10)

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2 thoughts on “The Shipping News (2001)

  1. Pingback: Temporal Top Ten – 2001 | MovieRob

  2. Pingback: Pet Sematary II (1992) | MovieRob

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