Sundance Film Festival Review Roundup: WIN WIN

Tom McCarthy’s WIN WIN, starring Paul Giamatti as a small-time New Jersey lawyer and high school wrestling coach who takes over guardianship of one of his elderly clients, is shaping up to be an early Sundance Film Festival favorite.

Marshall Fine, writing in the Huffington Post, calls the film “touchingly funny” and says it features “the most likably normal character Paul Giamatti has ever played — and pairing him with the delightfully edgy Amy Ryan and the hilariously exuberant Bobby Cannavale.” He adds, “McCarthy’s world of moral dilemmas and good deeds is fascinatingly real, with people doing the wrong thing and then finding the right reason … It’s one of the true delights of the festival.”

Screen Daily’s Anthony Kaufman predicts, “With good word of mouth assured among the older art-house demographic and a strong marketing push from Fox Searchlight, which will release the picture in the U.S. on March 25, WIN WIN should seize a moderate box-office victory.” Gregory Ellwood of HitFix reaches a similar conclusion, speculating that WIN WIN “could be a nice early spring hit on the art house circuit.”

The Los Angeles Times’ Steven Zeitchik, meanwhile, provides a glimpse into director McCarthy’s painstaking process, noting that the filmmaker behind THE VISITOR and THE STATION AGENT, returns again here to “exploring the poetry of the everyday, in which the lives of normal people take unexpected turns, usually after a chance encounter with a stranger. In the McCarthy canon, authenticity and nuance are prized. Characters are rarely all good or all bad, and they almost never say anything they wouldn’t say in real life.”

MTV offers this assessment: “We wouldn’t be surprised if WIN WIN ends up being one of this year’s indie breakout hits.” It also offers a clip from the film, shared below:

Be sure to satisfy all your festival needs with the latest buzz, top stories, and celebrity interviews from Sundance Channel’s coverage of the 2011 Sundance Film Festival.