209 user 118 critic

The Shipping News (2001)

R | | Drama | 18 January 2002 (USA)
1:47 | Trailer

Watch Now

With Prime Video

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)
Nominated for 2 Golden Globes. Another 2 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Biography | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A swooning study of "Mack the Knife" singer Bobby Darin (Spacey) specifically, and his relationship with his wife Sandra Dee (Bosworth).

Director: Kevin Spacey
Stars: Kevin Spacey, Kate Bosworth, John Goodman
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A compassionate young man, raised in an orphanage and trained to be a doctor there, decides to leave to see the world.

Director: Lasse Hallström
Stars: Tobey Maguire, Charlize Theron, Michael Caine
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Desperate to provide care for her daughter, down-on-her-luck Jean moves in with her father in-law from whom she is estranged. Through time, they learn to forgive each other and heal old wounds.

Director: Lasse Hallström
Stars: Jennifer Lopez, Robert Redford, Morgan Freeman
Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Brilliant, flamboyant master criminal Michael Lynch is more interested in his image and his posterity than the actual profit from his ill-gotten gains.

Director: Thaddeus O'Sullivan
Stars: Kevin Spacey, Linda Fiorentino, Peter Mullan
Drama | Romance | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A young Scottish woman joins the French Resistance during World War II to rescue her Royal Air Force boyfriend who is lost in France.

Director: Gillian Armstrong
Stars: Cate Blanchett, James Fleet, Abigail Cruttenden
Biography | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

An Irish journalist writes a series of stories about drug dealers.

Director: Joel Schumacher
Stars: Cate Blanchett, Colin Farrell, Brenda Fricker
Little Fish (2005)
Crime | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Set in the Little Saigon district outside of Sydney, a woman (Blanchett) trying to escape her past becomes embroiled in a drug deal.

Director: Rowan Woods
Stars: Cate Blanchett, Sam Neill, Hugo Weaving
The Hoax (2006)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

In what would cause a fantastic media frenzy, Clifford Irving sells his bogus biography of Howard Hughes to a premiere publishing house in the early 1970s.

Director: Lasse Hallström
Stars: Richard Gere, Alfred Molina, David Aaron Baker
An Ideal Husband I (1999)
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Sir Robert Chiltern is a successful Government minister, well-off and with a loving wife. All this is threatened when Mrs Cheveley appears in London with damning evidence of a past misdeed.... See full summary »

Director: Oliver Parker
Stars: Rupert Everett, Julianne Moore, Peter Vaughan
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

After 8 years in prison, inventor Robert Axle struggles to win over his estranged family and catch up on current technology as he works to once again become the king of the infomercial.

Director: Trent Cooper
Stars: Kevin Spacey, Camilla Belle, Heather Graham
Chocolat (2000)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A woman and her daughter open a chocolate shop in a small French village that shakes up the rigid morality of the community.

Director: Lasse Hallström
Stars: Juliette Binoche, Judi Dench, Alfred Molina
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A young boy attempts to make the world a better place after his teacher gives him that chance.

Director: Mimi Leder
Stars: Kevin Spacey, Haley Joel Osment, Helen Hunt


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 <jonas.reinartz@web.de>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Dive Beneath The Surface 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)


$11,405,825 (USA) (8 March 2002)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


When Billy Bob Thornton was set to direct, he wanted Laura Dern to play Wavey. See more »


The headless body apparently disappears from the water in the short time it takes Quoyle to swim to the cooler. 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 »


The Jolly Butcher
Arranged by Sean McCann, Alan Doyle, Bob Hallett (as Robert Hallett) & Darrell Power
Performed by Great Big Sea
Courtesy of Warner Music Canada
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

A beautiful portrait of human emotions and reactions
13 July 2002 | by (Baltimore, Maryland) – See all my reviews

Often when watching a film with a cast which has more Oscar nominations in their careers than the film has minutes, a level of expectations will be engraved which exceeds far above a film than which one should. Such is an example with the poignant, touching and often funny film, The Shipping News.

The Shipping News is film about loss, recovery, pain, but most of all, recovery. When a person loses a loved one, or in this case, a person who loses someone they think they love, it comes with a package of emotional stress and remorse. The person they lose is immortalized within their thoughts, usually in a positive, memorable perspective.

The story begins with a narration by Quoyle (Spacey), and through this depressing and self defeating narration, we learn that Quoyle is man who has never succeeded in anything, is a failure in his family's eyes, and has never accomplished one thing in his entire life. He struggles through every miserable task he is given, he aches at the thought of one more day.

As a defeated man who has never loved, never laughed, and never succeeded, he is desperate for something, desperate for someone. When he meets a woman named Petal (Blanchett) he thinks he's in love. We see a woman who is looking for a costumer, looking for someone to spend the night with. Quoyle sees a wife, someone to spend the rest of his life with. So without hesitation, he takes a swing at this wild tiger. He thinks he has achieved that echelon of happiness. He has a darling little girl, he has a wife, and he has a steady job. But he soon learns that one person, a person he has known for little over a few years, can turn his life upside down. After a realistic and inevitable chain of events, he is back to his pitiful little life. Only this time, he's lost more than he can handle. His own emotional attachments have become his own emotional destruction.

In the midst of these happenings, Quoyle is met at the door by his Aunt Agnis (Dench), whom he has never met. She suggests they begin a new future, for she too has lost something. She decides that they should travel to their native roots, in Newfoundland. The future looks bleak to Quoyle, but only the happiest of times look ahead to Agnis. At least from our perspective.

Throughout the film we are met by several supporting characters played by familiar and not so familiar actors. These characters, while they may seem supporting, play the largest part in the film. For these characters are the building blocks which help Quoyle begin his `transformation'. These are the people which help Quoyle recognize his roots and why he must belong there. Throughout these characters, we are met with many intertwining storylines which could make a whole entire film by themselves. But these characters are all here to help one man find a reason. A reason for being.

Throughout this masterful tale of loss, recovery, and pain, we discover that problems exist within problems. We learn that the future may result in failure, but will always have an answer. The answer lies within Quoyle himself. While these supporting players may have an impact on Quoyle's job and home, Quoyle is the only one who can help find happiness for himself.

With a star-studded cast which shines with the inspiring score by Christopher Young, Lasse Hallstrom has created a film which should not be overlooked, but should be look upon as a film which displays how courage, love, and faith, can overcome loss, struggle, and pain.

67 of 85 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
A Newfoundlander's opinion Tone303
Does Agnes pour Quoyle's dad down the toilet? marniecunningham344
Why was this not better? ftmpc
book babebdoll630
White puffy pastry thing she feeds him.... akelly318
Annie Proulx should apologize. TheFlipbookMPC
Discuss The Shipping News (2001) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: