5.6/10
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25 user 39 critic

All Is Bright (2013)

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While out on parole, Dennis reluctantly takes a job selling Christmas trees with his old buddy Rene in order to make enough money to buy his estranged daughter the piano she's always wanted.

Director:

Phil Morrison
1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Paul Giamatti ... Dennis
Paul Rudd ... Rene
Sally Hawkins ... Olga
Amy Landecker ... Therese
Tatyana Richaud Tatyana Richaud ... Michi
Adam Phillips Adam Phillips ... Antoine
Michael Drayer ... Bobby, who comes to buy a tree
Colman Domingo ... Nzomo
Halley Feiffer ... Claire, from last year
Nikki M. James ... Betsy
Gordon Joseph Weiss Gordon Joseph Weiss ... Blind Guy
Curtiss Cook ... Kevin (as Curtiss L'Cook)
Darren Goldstein ... Border Guard
Rob Munk Rob Munk ... Friendly Vermonteer
Peter Hermann ... Monsieur Tremblay
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Storyline

Two French Canadian ne'er-do-wells travel to New York City with a scheme to get rich quick selling Christmas trees. Easygoing charmer Rene (Paul Rudd) clashes with misanthropic ex-con Dennis (Paul Giamatti), whose wife Rene just stole. Still, this odd couple must make an honest go of it in this buddy comedy. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

All is busted. All is broke. All is bitter. All is BRIGHT.

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and brief nudity | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

10 September 2013 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Almost Christmas See more »

Filming Locations:

Tupper Lake, New York, USA See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$4,556, 4 October 2013, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$4,556, 4 October 2013
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film was released as "Almost Christmas" in the UK. See more »

Quotes

Olga: Do you think I am your friend?
Dennis: Yah.
Olga: My friend - you smell.
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Soundtracks

Kiss Me Baby
Written and Performed by Ernest Chapman
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User Reviews

 
Paul Giamatti leads a great cast in Phil Morrison's latest film...
22 April 2013 | by ClaytonDavisSee all my reviews

Phil Morrison blazed onto the scene with Junebug (2005) and managed to introduce the cinematic world to the blissful abilities with Oscar- nominated actress Amy Adams. With a near eight year stretch, he has finally taken his directorial chair yet again to bring the whimsical and fascinating Almost Christmas with Paul Giamatti and Paul Rudd.

The film opens up with Dennis (Giamatti), a recently released ex-convict that learns that his now ex-wife has told their daughter that he died in prison. To make matters worse, his partner-in-crime Rene is now dating her with intentions of marriage. With no job, home, or any real place to go, Rene's guilt partners with Dennis' opportunities and the two French Canadians embark on a trip to New York City to sell Christmas trees just before the holidays. During the daily antics and struggle to sell, eat, and sleep out of a wooden trailer, a dentist's wife (Sally Hawkins) presents a possible opportunity for them to learn more than just the meaning of the holidays.

Paul Giamatti continues to elevate himself to one of the greatest working actors today. As Dennis, he's utterly believable and encounters a new side of himself as an actor that is both funny and completely genuine. Giamatti's dedication to the craft allows him to continue to do what he normally achieves with all of his off-beat characters that are dreadful on the inside with a kind core that the audience can easily access.

As Rene, Paul Rudd continues his attempt at off-beat comedies on the independent circuit and presents himself as a very capable and gifted actor. His performance, which naturally brings many of the film's biggest laughs, is one of the Rudd's most surprising portrayals to date. Rudd shows vulnerability, skill, and a promise of a very endearing and powerful performance somewhere in his future. While the role is not a full-out home-run for the actor, he is more than average and presents some of the film's beautiful highlights.

Written by Melissa James Gibson, Almost Christmas is an incredibly original concept with a slight twist on a genre you may feel like you've seen before. The actions and story temperature are unhurried and at times cold, but ultimately is what makes the film succeed. There are some off-beat choices in character behaviors and an unrelated qualm about how someone should act in firm situations, but for a first-time screenwriter, it's a great plateau for her to step off. Gibson has only been credited as a writer on the show, "The Americans." She constructs authentic characterizations and gives them all an identity for the actor's to latch onto.

Golden Globe Winner Sally Hawkins is amazingly charming and wondrous in her role. With her delightful and appealing accent partnered with her cutely delivered monologue about "Fortune of Wheel," it's another strong turn from the gifted actress that has yet to take off in the big Hollywood manner as of yet. Hawkins is absolutely hilarious.

Phil Morrison's direction and choices aren't as bold or as inventive as his styles in Junebug. The story doesn't lend itself to those traits that made him a quiet sensation in the mid-2000s. He lends himself to a more defined genre of filmmaking that doesn't go for the big moments or audience reactions. It's a undemanding yet solid directorial work. The film's narrative is paced at a leisured speed, which may take some out of the story. It does take a minute to lift off but when it gets going, Almost Christmas has you hooked. It's a fine film event for movie-goers and a possible contender for year-end citations by independent groups.

Oscar CHANCES: Lead Actor for Paul Giamatti, Supporting Actress for Sally Hawkins, Original Screenplay for Melissa James Gibson

Read More @ The Awards Circuit (http://www.awardscircuit.com


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