7.2/10
48,547
110 user 231 critic

Win Win (2011)

Trailer
2:26 | Trailer

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

ON DISC
A struggling lawyer and volunteer wrestling coach's chicanery comes back to haunt him when the teenage grandson of the client he has double-crossed comes into his life.

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay), (story) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Popularity
4,695 ( 1,312)
5 wins & 22 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

The Visitor I (2007)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A college professor travels to New York City to attend a conference and finds a young couple living in his apartment.

Director: Tom McCarthy
Stars: Richard Jenkins, Haaz Sleiman, Danai Gurira
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

When his only friend dies, a man born with dwarfism moves to rural New Jersey to live a life of solitude, only to meet a chatty hot dog vendor and a woman dealing with her own personal loss.

Director: Tom McCarthy
Stars: Peter Dinklage, Patricia Clarkson, Bobby Cannavale
Sideways (2004)
Adventure | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Two men reaching middle age with not much to show but disappointment embark on a week-long road trip through California's wine country, just as one is about to take a trip down the aisle.

Director: Alexander Payne
Stars: Paul Giamatti, Thomas Haden Church, Virginia Madsen
Biography | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

An original mix of fiction and reality illuminates the life of comic book hero everyman Harvey Pekar.

Directors: Shari Springer Berman, Robert Pulcini
Stars: Paul Giamatti, Shari Springer Berman, Harvey Pekar
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

The picaresque and touching story of the politically incorrect, fully lived life of the impulsive, irascible and fearlessly blunt Barney Panofsky.

Director: Richard J. Lewis
Stars: Paul Giamatti, Rosamund Pike, Jake Hoffman
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Shy 14-year-old Duncan goes on summer vacation with his mother, her overbearing boyfriend, and her boyfriend's daughter. Having a rough time fitting in, Duncan finds an unexpected friend in Owen, manager of the Water Wizz water park.

Directors: Nat Faxon, Jim Rash
Stars: Steve Carell, Toni Collette, Allison Janney
The Cobbler (2014)
Comedy | Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

A cobbler, bored of his every-day life, stumbles upon a magical heirloom that allows him to become other people and see the world in a different way.

Director: Tom McCarthy
Stars: Adam Sandler, Melonie Diaz, Steve Buscemi
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Follows two young boys dealing with their parents' divorce in Brooklyn in the 1980s.

Director: Noah Baumbach
Stars: Owen Kline, Jeff Daniels, Laura Linney
Adventure | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Three teenage friends, in the ultimate act of independence, decide to spend their summer building a house in the woods and living off the land.

Director: Jordan Vogt-Roberts
Stars: Nick Robinson, Gabriel Basso, Moises Arias
Garden State (2004)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A quietly troubled young man returns home for his mother's funeral after being estranged from his family for a decade.

Director: Zach Braff
Stars: Zach Braff, Peter Sarsgaard, Natalie Portman
Wonder Boys (2000)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

An English Professor tries to deal with his wife leaving him, the arrival of his editor who has been waiting for his book for seven years, and the various problems that his friends and associates involve him in.

Director: Curtis Hanson
Stars: Michael Douglas, Tobey Maguire, Frances McDormand
The Savages (2007)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A sister and brother face the realities of familial responsibility as they begin to care for their ailing father.

Director: Tamara Jenkins
Stars: Laura Linney, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Philip Bosco
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Terry Delfino
...
...
...
...
...
...
Stemler (as David Thompson)
Mike Diliello ...
...
Marcia Haufrecht ...
...
...
Penelope Kindred ...
Edit

Storyline

Disheartened attorney Mike Flaherty (Giamatti), who moonlights as a high school wrestling coach, stumbles across a star athlete through some questionable business dealings while trying to support his family. Just as it looks like he will get a double payday, the boy's mother shows up fresh from rehab and flat broke, threatening to derail everything. Written by Fox Searchlight Pictures

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

In the game of life, you can't lose 'em all.

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Sport

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

15 April 2011 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Gagnant gagnant  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$464,420 (USA) (25 March 2011)

Gross:

$10,179,275 (USA) (15 July 2011)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

| |

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Tom McCarthy co-wrote the movie with his childhood buddy and wrestling teammate, Joe Tiboni. See more »

Goofs

When the team is on the bus heading to a match, they are going from their school in NJ to another school in NJ. However, the shot of the road they are driving down is in Rockville Centre, Long Island, NY (one of the admitted locations where the movie was filmed). In traveling from one school in NJ to another school in NJ, there would be absolutely no reason to pass through LI. See more »

Quotes

Mike Flaherty: [to the wrestling team] Now, did you all see what Kyle did the other day? He exploded up, right? Kyle, show the guys what you did.
Kyle: It's kind of my own thing.
Mike Flaherty: Well, can you share it with us?
Kyle: But it's not even a move or anything.
Mike Flaherty: It's okay.
Kyle: All right. Well, I just tell myself that the guy on top's tryin' to take my head and shove it under water and kill me, and if I don't wanna die on bottom, I have to do whatever the fuck it takes to get out.
Stephen Vigman: [breaking a stunned silence] Okay. So the move is "...
[...]
See more »

Connections

Features Divorce Court (1984) See more »

Soundtracks

Have A Nice Day
Written by Jon Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora (as Richard Sambora) and John Shanks
Performed by Bon Jovi
Courtesy of The Island Def Jam Music Group
Under license from Universal Music Enterprises
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Terrific sleeper
4 March 2011 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Win Win is a terrific multigenre sleeper. It's funny, even hilarious; it has mystery and action; and it features brilliant performances by the always-reliable Paul Giamatti and Amy Ryan. It's also not a movie that wallows in treacly messages, and it's not a movie that uses sports as a crutch for "finding one's inner strength." In short, it's a wonderful, top-notch movie.

Giamatti plays Mike Flaherty, a small-time lawyer who's running low on cash. He moonlights as coach of the local high-school team, which is, to put it bluntly, terrible. In a burst of fiscal sanity, Mike offers to become legal guardian for Leo, one of his clients (played by the crusty Burt Young), who's just been declared legally incapacitated. Why? Because as his guardian, Mike gets $1500 a month. But since he wants to avoid the extra hassle of actually taking care of Leo, he puts him in a nice home. Seriously, it's a nice home, with nice people and a big flat-screen TV.

At this point, the movie wants us on Mike's side – sort of. He needs the cash, and he doesn't really want to tell his wife Jackie (Ryan) that they're running low, not with two young daughters to care for as well. Plus he's coach of a terrible team and is just swimming in stress. Swimming in it. So much so that while jogging to work off the stress, he suffers a panic attack.

Just when Mike thinks some of his problems have been solved, teenage Kyle (Alex Shaffer) walks into his life. Kyle, it turns out, his Leo's grandson, and they've never met. Kyle's been sent by his mom to visit Leo. At first, this complicates things – especially when Kyle seems awfully reluctant to go back home to Ohio – but then Mike's remaining big problem is solved. It turns out the kid is a gifted wrestler. Who'd have thought that? He looks scrawny, but in practices Kyle shows he has the mettle. And thus things are riding well for Mike.

But this would be a truly dull (if inspirational) movie if things continued to ride well. One thing we learn early on is that Mike intentionally misled the judge in Leo's case, giving the impression that he would be actively taking care of Leo. But things really get going when Kyle's druggie mom (Melanie Lynskey) shows up to bring her boy back – and to take over as Leo's guardian.

Too often, Giamatti has played real sad-sack characters, guys who just can't seem to catch a break, guys who suffer at the hands of fickle fate. Not so here. Mike isn't exactly a conniving mastermind, but he's not an idiot, either, and he deals with each situation with logic and reason, even as they spiral further out of his control. It's a typically masterful Giamatti performance, and for once he's not a total loser who's in over his head. He's even a half-decent coach who simply has a lackluster team to work with.

Giamatti's not alone, though. I really got a kick out of Amy Ryan's performance as his somewhat-exasperated spouse Jackie, who's not terribly fond of suddenly having a teenage boy around at first. A few years back, Ryan turned in an Oscar-nominated performance as a native Bostonian in Gone Baby Gone. Ryan had a thick, believable Boston accent then. Here, she's playing a New Jersey native, but at no point does she go overboard with the Jersey Shore dialect. That's what good actresses can do – they can dial it back when they have to and show a little nuance.

Win Win is not a stand-up-and-cheer movie, although the audience at the screening I attended applauded when it was over. It's not a crime drama, and it doesn't really have a lot of twists to its plot. What makes it work are all of the truly sincere, dead-on performances: by Giamatti, Ryan, Shaffer, Lynskey, Bobby Cannavale, and even Jeffrey Tambor as one of Mike's wrestling assistant coaches. Not a sour note in the bunch, everyone at the top of his or her game.

This might have fared well, critically, if it were released during awards season. It sort of reminded me of last year's Greenburg, starring Ben Stiller, only funnier and sweeter. Win Win is a charming, quiet movie that reminds us that, as the Grateful Dead once told us, once in a while you can get shown the light in the strangest of places if you look at it right.


72 of 91 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
The ending ruined it lord_kobel
Why Put Leo in the Nursing Home janmerri
Where would you rank it in terms of McCarthy's other films? Film-Intel
How was this a comedy? fatpie42
How can this movie bomb??? viveksomeguy
Review: 'worth a watch but don't expect it to be anything memorable' JasonTheCritic
Discuss Win Win (2011) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?