The Shipping News (2001)

R  |   |  Drama  |  18 January 2002 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 27,505 users   Metascore: 47/100
Reviews: 207 user | 119 critic | 31 from

An emotionally-beaten man with his young daughter moves to his ancestral home in Newfoundland to reclaim his life.



(based on the novel by) (as E. Annie Proulx) , (screenplay)
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Nominated for 2 Golden Globes. Another 2 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Agnis Hamm
Beaufield Nutbeem
Dennis Buggit
Bayonet Melville
Silver Melville
Alyssa Gainer ...
Bunny Quoyle
Kaitlyn Gainer ...
Bunny Quoyle
Lauren Gainer ...
Bunny Quoyle


An inksetter in New York, Quoyle returns to his family's longtime home, a small fishing town in Newfoundland, with his young daughter, after a traumatizing experience with her mother, Petal, who sold her to an illegal adoption agency. Though Quoyle has had little success thus far in life, his shipping news column in the newspaper "The Gammy Bird" finds an audience, and his experiences in the town change his life. Then he meets the widow Wavey... Written by <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


You'll never guess what you'll find inside... See more »



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some language, sexuality and disturbing images | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

18 January 2002 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Atando cabos  »

Box Office


$35,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$318,502 (USA) (21 December 2001)


$166,081 (Brazil) (10 January 2003)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


The author of the novel, E. Annie Proulx, would only grant the film rights to the book upon the condition that it be filmed on location in Newfoundland. See more »


At a point in the film, Quoyle's hands are bandaged from frostbites and the bandages are later removed as he recovers. However, later when he suddenly wakes up during the stormy night (towards the end of the film), the bandages are again visible on his hands although he doesn't wear them neither in previous nor in the following scene. See more »


[first lines]
Quoyle: [father teaching him literally to sink or swim] I used to imagine that I'd been given to the wrong family at birth, and that somewhere in the world my real people longed for me. From where my father stood, my failure to dog-paddle was only the first of many failures. Failure to speak clearly, failure to sit up straight, failure to make friends every time we moved to another dreary upstate town. In me, my father recognized a failed life. His own.
See more »


References The Shining (1980) See more »


Written by Dickey Betts (as Forrest Richard Betts)
Performed by The Allman Brothers Band
Courtesy of Polydor Records
Under License from Universal Music Enterprises
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User Reviews

Another moving display of human sentiments from Hallström.
2 July 2006 | by (India) – See all my reviews

Lasse Hallström had created a number of great films that deliver serious introspective messages of human emotions, with masterful uses of filming locations and scenery to create the various moods of his films which is often pensive or thought-provoking. We have seen them in "Chocolat", "What's Eating Gilbert Grape?" and in "The Cider House Rules". His selection of novels he makes films based on is also brilliant. Here, "The Shipping News" is another master stroke from him which leaves the viewer quite in awe to the film's sentiments and atmosphere.

I haven't read the novel. And it's quite unlikely I'll find it in my local bookstores and I hate e-books. So I can never judge the film's quality of adaptation. All I can say is that the film offers us a wonderful story of a rather ordinary man named Quoyal who's brilliantly portrayed by Kevin Spacey. The character of Quoyal is still fascinating, extra-ordinarily ordinary. The best chemistry of Quoyal is not with his later love-interest Wavey, but with his aunt Agnis. This is a major touch of brilliance in the story. The story also tells us about Newfoundland and its people... and leaves us indeed fascinated by those facts. But in the end, emotions are same everywhere, be it Newfoundland or Indonesia, so the story is ultimately of grief, sense of loss, rediscovering one's self and love.

Julianne Moore is rather stiff in this film. I don't know whether it's for her role or she acted badly. Judi Dench is a pleasure to watch again. Cate Blanchett's extended cameo is awesome too. But actors don't carry the film. The major credit for the film goes to the director. There's a major flaw (perhaps) in the story in the end concerning the character Jack but Hallstrom pulls it off nicely so that the audience cannot react to it and accepts it temporarily. Hats off to you, Mr Hallström.

10 of 16 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Anyone notice any clue of Canada..? Angus-8
A Newfoundlander's opinion Tone303
Does Agnes pour Quoyle's dad down the toilet? marniecunningham344
Why was this not better? ftmpc
book babebdoll630
Spacey's poor performance - compare to 'Henry Fool' and 'Heavy' fentress
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