The Shipping News (2002)
Main cast: Kevin Spacey (Quoyle), Julianne Moore (Wavey Prowse), Judi Dench (Agnis Hamm), Cate Blanchett (Petal Bear), Pete Postlethwaite (Tert X Card), Rhys Ifans (Beaufield Nutbeem), Gordon Pinsent (Billy Pretty), Scott Glenn (Jack Buggit), Jason Behr (Dennis Buggit), Alyssa Gainer (Bunny Quoyle), Kaitlyn Gainer (Bunny Quoyle), Lauren Gainer (Bunny Quoyle), and Will McAllister (Herry Prowse)
Director: Lasse Hallström

What a lovely picture album! After watching this movie, I'd have cheerfully given up my computer, TV, and all for a house in picturesque Newfoundland, this movie's Newfoundland because I know the real Newfoundland will make me miss my computer in no time. As for the movie, well, what can I say? It is adapted from E Annie Proulx's supposedly unadaptable book of the same name. The book won the Pulitzer. Gee, why am I not surprised?

My husband barks at the TV screen (yes, we are watching the pirated VCD at home) five minutes into the show. "What is this? A slut looking as hot as Cate Blanchett screwing a loser like Kevin Spacey? This is not fair! I want to be in this movie too!"

Yes, loser Quoyle impregnates town slut Petal, and he takes care of daughter Bunny as Petal sluts around. Because she is such a slut, she dies. Quoyle gets a visit by his estranged aunt Agnis, and they all move to Newfoundland where the local people will give Quoyle a job, a chance in life, and even a girlfriend (Wavey, who doesn't slut around). Nice.

I mean, yes, it's nice to look at, but can someone tell me where this story is heading, if there is actually any direction? There's ghosts, shipwrecks, disembodied heads, family secrets (why isn't this movie about Agnis instead of the boring, hammy Quoyle?), every local men's repressed love for Quoyle (only, of course, this movie doesn't go out and say that, they just hinted at that), but is there a direction? Everything seemed tossed in nilly-willy. Everyone, from Kevin Spacey to the reliable Judi Dench to the mesmerizing Julianne Moore to the funny Rhys Ifans to the surprisingly very good Jason Behr to... you get the idea, everyone is wasted. The kids are especially very good too, but again, they too are wasted in their roles that seem to make them accessories and ornaments than actual characters.

In fact, the same could be said of the adults. The characters in this movie are merely ornaments, props of this very beautiful picture album called The Shipping News. The folks of Newfoundland must be so happy, because trust me, after this movie, they have at least two enchanted members of the audience planning a bank heist so that they too can move to Newfoundland and snog Rhys Ifans (me) and Julianne Moore (hubby). You've been warned, people.

(Aside: I tell you, Mr Proulx writes a story about his wet dreams of screwing the town slut and then moving to a town where everybody hails him as the hero and every woman falls for him, puts in lots of mumbo jumbo backstory and admittedly well-written scenery, and he gets the Pulitzer and a movie starring Kevin Spacey made to his name. I am so inspired, really.)

Rating: 77

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