'Winter Passing: Special Edition' [Blu-ray]
(Will Ferrell, Zooey Deschanel, Amelia Warner, Ed Harris, Amy Madigan, et al / Blu-ray / R / (2005) 2019 / MVD Marquee Collection)
Overview: Actress Reese Holden has been offered a small fortune by a book editor if she can secure for publication the love letters that her father, a reclusive novelist, wrote to her mother, who has since passed away.
Returning to Michigan, Reese finds that an ex-grad student and a would-be musician have moved in with her father, who cares more about his new friends than he does about his own health and well-being.
Blu-ray Verdict: One of the challenges 'Winter Passing' faces is getting the audience to empathize with characters enough to ride the film's emotional ups-and-downs.
Director Adam Rapp took a risk by placing so many of the events which define each character outside of the story, instead conveying these details through conversations between characters (i.e. "Who's pills are these?" or "Who is Corbit and why does he live here?").
The potential reward of this "Tell-Don't-Show" approach is that the director can add dimension to the characters by providing a greater quantity of personal history and details.
The risk, however, is that the audience won't invest enough emotionally in the characters to really care about what happens to them.
That all said, the acting within 'Winter Passing' is really rather good and I'm always glad to see Will Ferrell push beyond his slapstick beginnings; for here both he and Zooey Deschanel have very believable chemistry.
But by relying so heavily on dialogue and description, the film subverts the medium, and made it hard for me to identify with any of the four main characters.
Simply put, on the surface, this is an odd meandering tale of a daughter in search of herself. In reality, it is a moving study of the survivors of an atypical dysfunctional family, accompanied by two socially challenged hangers-on.
This film is a drama. There is no comedy. There is no joy. There is only drama, pain, and self discovery. In other words, it succeeds as a stand alone drama, without depending on any other style as a crutch.
Sadly though, it fails to fully give closure, yet satisfies in the promise of inner healing between its participants.
In closing, an earnest attempt to adopt both literary and highbrow cinematic techniques into an indie story, 'Winter Passing' reminds one of the state in which American cinema has found itself over the last decade or so. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the new Special Features of:
Behind the Scenes Featurette
Original Theatrical Trailer
'Winter Passing: Special Edition' [Blu-Ray] is out June 25th, 2019 via MVD Marquee Collection.