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
The scenes in which Quoyle (Kevin Spacey) is in the water were filmed at a tank in St. John's, Newfoundland (normally used for testing boats and marine technology). The tank, which normally contains cold Atlantic sea water, had to be specially filled with warm water for Spacey's comfort. See more »
When Jack Buggit first asks Quoyle aboard his boat, he's gutting fish. He throws the first fish in the tub of water, and it splashes on Quoyle. When he throws the second fish in the tub, it lands on several other fish (already in the tub). 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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A beautiful portrait of human emotions and reactions
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.
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