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The film centers on four pairs - Frances is a recent widow who wants to get away from Scotland to Australia with her teenage son Alex to escape her memories, arrival of her old mother Elspeth makes her reconsider her decision. Alex approaches his first sexual experience with neighbour girl Nita. Chloe and Lily are two old women who like to attend strangers' funerals and Tom with Sam are two schoolboys who skip school to play on the beach and talk. Written by
Don't know about you, but i just loved the movie. It was very interesting to discover Alan Rickman as a Director - and i wasn't disappointed with the result in any way. First, the 'structure' of the movie: tiny episodes from every plot line, their gentle crossing with each other. Then, these plot lines themselves - i found them pictured with more subtlety and tenderness than i had believed possible.
What struck me most was the teenage boys' behaviour. Or, to be more precise, the abrupt change in both of them - from cigarettes, swearing, and all this genitals-related speech to the sudden gentle manner when they find and adopt baby kittens. Is it how we grow up? Does it only take a helpless creature, who has nothing and no-one to depend on, to step towards maturity? Frances' (Emma Thompson) drama about her lost husband expresses silent grief, which is more felt than seen from her performance. Her mother Elspeth (Phyllida Law), adds even more emotion to it. While usual movies concentrate on showing the 'action', here the very sight of Elspeth's slow journey towards her daughter's house speaks volumes. What can we learn from her? That old age cannot be fought? Or, that the journey to another soul is long and winding? or both?..
The other two plot lines are magnificent as well. I won't delve into every single moment that made me shudder, for everyone finds their own special episodes. What i can say is that the movie didn't leave any dazzling impressions. No vivid flashbacks. Only a feeling of winter silently creeping into our souls and staying there for long. Not the freezing, icy season. But the feeling of a thick blanket of snow. The thrill you get when you hear snow crackling beneath your feet. The strange yet peaceful emotion when witnessing the earth sleep.
Who is the winter guest? Alan Rickman has been asked about it in some interview. He said he didn't know it himself. It might be death, however. Who is the winter guest for every one of us? Death, which comes alien and unexpected. Winter, bringing sleep and slumber into our ordinary lives. Grief, which covers our hearts with ice. Life, which stirs beneath the layers of ice and snow. Different for each and every one. The movie is leaving much space to insert your own emotions and feelings. To accept your own, personal winter guest. I have learned to accept mine.
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