Win Win

A very funny but serious movie about a middle class family trying to make ends meet in the economic recession while also doing the right thing.  The story is almost identical to the movie The Blind Side (2009), with Sandra Bullock, for which she won an Oscar and was based on a true story about a middle class family, who takes in a homeless boy from the ghetto, and through his new family’s encouragement and nurturing, goes on to become a top athlete in the NFL. 

Win Win is not based on a true story and is told more from the father’s point of view, played by Paul Giamatti recently from Barney’s Version (2010), Lady in the Water (2006), Sideways (2004) and American Splendor (2003), who is a lawyer and coaches a high school wrestling team. It too is about a middle class family who takes in a runaway boy from a broken household, and through their nurturing and encouragement, discovers the boy’s hidden wrestling talents. In this movie the boy already has a known track record in the wrestling field, but it’s not known to his new family until he volunteers to be part of the high school wrestling team. Both these stories are about people in very difficult situations, who find support, friendship and even love where they least expect it.

I liked this movie because of what it had to say about how the influence of money can corrupt people’s better judgments, especially in financially trying times. Everyone in this movie has money problems and they all have different ways of dealing with them, with sometimes comic results. The father, Mike Flaherty, makes a somewhat questionable moral decision that appears to be helping someone else but is actually only helping himself with his financial troubles, which leads to a string of events that are both humorous and moving, revealing everyone’s true nature. In trying to be something he is not, he gets himself into troubles he did not expect and is not prepared for.

It brings up questions about why it seems so easy for some people to make money but is such a struggle for others and it goes back to what motivates us as individuals? Mike is a lawyer by trade but has a passion for wrestling. Unfortunately our passions don’t always make us money and we must work at other job to make a living.

Win Win is directed by Thomas McCarthy who also directed such great Indie films as The Station Agent (2003) and The Visitor (2007) which are both similar comic but moving films about people in difficult situations finding support and friendship where they least expected it.

If you like these kinds of movies I also recommend you see the excellent, and one of my favorite films, Lars and the Real Girl (2007) and Pieces of April (2003). Enjoy.


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