Directed by: Thomas McCarthy
Starring: Paul Giamatti, Amy Ryan, Jeffrey Tambor
Review: ‘Win, Win’ is a movie about life and a movie that is trying to show that in life situations are not like the title and nothing is win-win. In life there are actions and all actions have consequences. We may not think initially that things will get as complicated as they end up being, but that is just an excuse that we performed the action and did not choose to accept all possible consequences of the action. Making a mistake is not the issue; it’s owning up to the mistake and accepting responsibility for it that earns you that second chance.
‘Win, Win’ centers around Mike Flaherty (Giamatti) whose law practice is in a real downturn due to the economy and he is not certain what his next step is. He needs to find a way to save his practice and make sure that his family can continue to be provided for by him. In small town America in this economy, it’s a tall order. To supplement his income Mike persuades a judge to let him be the legal guardian of one of his elderly clients for which he gets a $1,500/month stipend. I’m not a lawyer and am not familiar with the ethics code, but I assure you, this is not something that is looked kindly upon in the legal profession. Mike proceeds to put his client in an elderly care center and collect the paychecks.
Next thing he knows, Mike finds his elderly clients grandson Kyle, who came from his estranged daughter, winds up on his doorstep and he decides to take him in. Kyle has defected from Ohio where his mother is currently in rehab and has nothing to do while in town. That being the case Mike brings him to work with him and then eventually to wrestling practice where he coaches the local high school wrestling team.
When Kyle asks to participate Mike learns that Kyle is an all-state caliber wrestler and could have a huge future in the sport. Kyle then enrolls in the school and begins to wrestle as part of the team. Through this wrestling experience Kyle and Mike bond strongly and Kyle slowly starts to become part of their family. During this process we find out that Kyle did not have the greatest family situation in Ohio and he even got kicked off his old high school’s wrestling team because he stole the car of a teacher at his school. It is to this that Jackie (Ryan) lets him know that it’s ok because everyone deserves a second a chance. However, through her actions and how she runs her family Jackie lets it be known that a second chance has to be earned.
‘Win, Win’ doesn’t get too life threatening or get involved in the darker side of how messed up Kyle’s life could be or how much his mother’s drug problems has affected him and his family. The movie sticks to the basics in this area and keeps the ideal that the human spirit can endure. The movie tries to keep things in perspective and realize that everyone makes decisions that affect the lives of others around them. The problem is, people don’t always think about that. Even if things were never intended to be as complicated everyone has to realize that when complications arise they have to own up to their actions in order to move past them.
The movie remains light hearted and is funnier than you would think. Overall, it is worth your time.