49 user 33 critic

The Winter Guest (1997)

R | | Drama | 24 December 1997 (USA)
2:30 | Trailer

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A recent widow who is determined to leave Scotland for Australia with her son gets an unexpected visit from her aging mother.



(translation and adaptation), (play) | 2 more credits »
5 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Sheila Reid ...
Sandra Voe ...
Arlene Cockburn ...
Gary Hollywood ...
Douglas Murphy ...
Tom Watson ...
Jan Shand ...
Café Proprietor
Sandy Neilson ...
Billy McElhaney ...
Bus Driver
Helen Devon ...
Woman in Tea Shop
Harry Welsh ...
Boy in Tea Shop
Christian Zanone ...
Young Man in Church


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 Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Come in from the cold. See more »



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and brief sensuality | See all certifications »





Release Date:

24 December 1997 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

L'invitée de l'hiver  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$21,305 (USA) (26 December 1997)


$776,332 (USA) (27 March 1998)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (TV)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Alan Rickman's directorial debut. See more »


[first lines]
Alex: Are you all right?
Frances: Don't keep asking.
See more »


References Now, Voyager (1942) See more »


Blessed Assurance
Music by Phoebe P. Knapp
Lyrics by Fanny Crosby
See more »

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User Reviews

A stark and beautiful film, with existential meaning
19 July 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

There are other overall comments; I thought I would comment on it from a 'quiet psychological drama' POV. As the different pairs of people (mother/bereaved daughter, son/girlfriend, boys, old women) developed their stories, and sometimes criss-crossed, I saw a growing pattern in how they all dealt with their existential lone-ness and lack of drive. The fun but seemingly insignificant (at first) retired ladies hold the key the others seem to echo each in their own way: that if you have a friend, a journey of discovery, and something (or someone) to care for, you can grow in hard conditions, and move on. There are even almost mythical scenes of epiphany about this theme, but I don't know whether Rickmann or MacDonald intended this beautiful mythological pattern to answer the existential crises we face in modern times, but the richness and depth the characters grow into by the end of the film is something that really hit me. A fascinating study that follows the characters so carefully as to teach you things about yourself. Put this in your medicine cabinet for prompt temporary relief of existential despair. If they can find warmth in that bitter chill, there's hope for us too. Not for you if action movies are your thing, of course!

Meets my standard for 'movies that improved my life'.

13 of 15 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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