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
When Quoyle first picks up Petal at the gas station in the early '90s, there is a much later model car in the parking lot behind Quoyle's car. See more »
[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.
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It's rare to see a movie made with such tender loving care. Director Hallstrom gathered the best cast and crew he could find for this film. The cinematography is glorious - I can't believe Oliver Stapleton isn't up for every award in the world. Kevin Spacey turns in the best performance of his career as a brutalized man, Cate Blanchett is her usual chameleon self as his trashy girlfriend, Julianne Moore is perfection as the woman who helps him heal, and Judi Dench is funny and touching as his aunt. Hers is a role without a huge amount of lines but tons of substance. Only a master could have given the character such depth.
The Shipping News has poignancy, humor and a great deal of beauty. What it has above all else is atmosphere - Hallstrom's feel for the Newfoundland shipping village, the simple lives led there and the friendships made is truly awe-inspiring.
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