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The Winter Guest (1997)

R  |   |  Drama  |  24 December 1997 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 2,773 users  
Reviews: 49 user | 33 critic

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 »
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Title: The Winter Guest (1997)

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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?


Emma Thompson and Phillipa Law are real-life mother and daughter. See more »


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


References Now, Voyager (1942) See more »


Take Me With You
Sung by Elizabeth Fraser
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User Reviews

A delicious and touching story.
20 January 2004 | by (Madrid, Spain) – See all my reviews

This film is one of those small but delicious productions in modern european film industry that makes it worth to continue going to the cinema. It is the film version of a Scottish theatre production, that did run with the same basic cast.

There is no main plot. It is the summing up of four basic stories which are somewhat interwoven, describing the relationships between very different human beings.

The Scottish winter, framing all the story, is almost a character of its own. You can almost sense the ice, the intense coldness around the characters, but you altogether feel the warmth of human emotions.

The actors are all outstanding in their characters. Above all others, Phyllida Law and Emma Thompson (real life mother and daughter) give a very powerful performance, portraying a depressed recent widow and her energetic and controlling mother: really a charming old lady.

The great Alan Rickman's direction is in my opinion a very good job, bringing all the different stories together and making a magnificent choral film.

I eagerly look forward to his next attempt in directorial tasks.

14 of 14 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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